After a promising start to the year at the Australian Open, Canadian Eugenie Bouchard only continued with her success, and that included a nice run at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina.
The sixth-seeded Bouchard reached the semi-final at the Family Circle Cup but fell short on Saturday as No. 9-ranked Andrea Petkovic of Germany downed the Canadian 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 to advance to the final. This was Bouchard's third loss to Petkovic in as many matches. Bouchard, however, did do one better than last year where she was eliminated in the quarter-finals of said tournament. To make matters better, the 20-year-old defeated former world No. 1 Venus Williams in this year's third round before knocking off No. 8 Jelena Jankovic in the quarters. The latter win was Bouchard's fourth against a Top 10 player so far this year.
While she didn't win down under, the 20-year-old native of Westmount, Quebec made it to the semi-finals where she not only became the first Canadian since 1984 to reach a Grand Slam semi but also guaranteed herself a Top 20 finish in the WTA overall rankings for the first time in her young career. Two weeks later, Bouchard won both of her first-round matches versus Serbia in the Fed Cup World Group II. Her efforts helped advance Canada reach the World Group playoffs for the first time since 2004.
Following the Fed Cup, Bouchard moved on to the PNB Paribas Open where she fell in the fourth round to No. 7 Simona Halep. Bouchard's finish, however, did not occur before defeating Sara Errani, another player in the Top 10.
The consummate pessimist can look at Eugenie Bouchard's early campaign and argue that she has yet to win a singles tournament. While that may be correct, few are looking at the downside to Bouchard's game, mostly due to the fact that there is very little downside to discuss. Her glorious run at the Aussie Open aside, Bouchard is taking the tennis world by storm and, in the process, put Canada on the map in a sport they've had little to celebrate in over the last 25 years, especially on the women's side.
It's only onward and upward for Bouchard as she prepares for more tournaments in 2014, including the French Open at the end of May and, of course, Wimbledon the following month.
The lack of experience may still show from time to time, as it did en route to her loss against the aforementioned Petkovic, but Eugenie Bouchard is nonetheless giving her fans and tennis experts alike something to cheer about regardless how she finishes in a tournament.
As exciting as Bouchard's play as been thus far in 2014, it's even more exciting to remember that we're only in the first week of April.