- Our Town
Bouchard, Raonic ousted from U.S. Open
By Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press
NEW YORK - Eugenie Bouchard was done in by heat, Milos Raonic lost in an early morning marathon.
Either way, the last Canadians remaining in the main draw at the U.S. Open were both eliminated in dramatic fourth-round matches.
Bouchard, of Westmount, Que., needed a medical time out to treat dizziness and exhaustion in the second set of her 7-6 (2), 6-4 loss to left-hander Ekaterina Makarova, a match played in sweltering heat on Monday afternoon.
Raonic was beaten 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-4 by 10th-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan in a four hour 19 minute struggle that tied a record as the latest-to-finish match in U.S. Open history.
The Thornhill, Ont., resident's match began just after 10 p.m. ET on Monday and ended at 2:26 a.m. Tuesday, equalling the latest finish first set in 1993 by Swedes Mats Wilander and Mikael Pernfors and repeated in 2012 by John Isner and Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Asked if he was impressed by that record, Raonic said, "Not in the slightest bit."
It was a scary moment when Bouchard needed treatment at her courtside chair, but the 20-year-old said she will be fine and is looking forward to playing tournaments in Asia later this year.
Her U.S. Open, however, was lost to the heat and the heavy workload as her bid to reach at least the semifinals of a fourth Grand Slam event this year fell short.
It was a scary moment, but she got up and finished the match.
"I was feeling very light headed and dizzy on the court — You know, just seeing things a little blurry," the 20-year-old said. "They think the heat got to me a little bit.
"And they know I probably was more tired than usual from the past few matches."
Doctors kept her from doing her post-match interview for more than two hours as they helped her to recuperate. She said playing the two three-set matches late at night in the previous two rounds also played a part.
"I think I did well to push myself through those matches, but I also need to have the endurance," she said. "I haven't had that in the past few months, basically.
"So it's not a huge surprise to me. It's disappointing, but I know there's no reason to worry. Once I do a lot of good training, I can compete at this level for two whole weeks, hopefully."
Bouchard has been battling minor injuries that were built up during her stirring run at the biggest events this year. She became the most talked about player on the WTA tour as she reached the semifinals of the Australian and French Open and then went to the final at Wimbledon in June.
Despite the U.S. Open setback, her 19 wins are the most by any WTA player at Grand Slams this year.
But she hasn't been in top form since the hardcourt season began more than a month ago. That was evident at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, where she was beaten in her first match by unheralded American Shelby Rogers.
"I didn't have the highest expectations from myself for this tournament," said Bouchard. "Since Wimbledon it's been a little bit of a struggle with nagging injuries.
"Even at the beginning of this tournament I said I haven't had the proper preparation. I have really cut down on practice time. That affects you in a match, especially after a few tough ones late at night. I'm not concerned at all, but with all that and with not feeling great in my tennis, I still battled to the second week of a slam. So there's positives."
The 17th-seeded Makarova advanced to the quarter-finals against Victoria Azarenka.
Earlier, Canadian Vasek Pospisil and his American partner Jack Sock lost 6-2, 6-2 to Carlos Berlocq and Leonardo Mayer of Argentina in third round doubles.
Junior Katherine Sebov is the lone Canadian left in the tournament.
Play was stopped for about 10 minutes in the second set after Bouchard, who wasted two break points, fell behind 3-2 and then called in the medical staff.
A pale, open-mouthed Bouchard looked in distress as medics took her blood pressure and then rubbed her down with ice bags at her courtside chair.
"I think it developed as the match went on," said Bouchard. "In the middle of the first set I started not feeling great.
"I have had a few late, tough matches here, and I don't think I fully recovered from those. I was feeling it a little bit yesterday as well."
Makarova said she also felt the heat, but offered that it may have hit Bouchard harder because she runs more and plays a more physical game.
"Actually I thought 'thanks' because I was also tired and it really helped me also," Makarova said of the time out. "I had time to recover and use ice bags too.
"It was really tough conditions. So humid. I think, because of that, the game was going up and down."
Bouchard said she never considered not finishing the match.
When it resumed, she immediately lost her serve. But remarkably, she battled back to break Makarova's service and then hold her own to tie the set at 4-4.
But 26-year-old Makarova broke service again to take the match, winning all four points in the final game and punctuating her win with a forehand return down the line.
Bouchard, whose fan following has swelled with her grand slam success this season, was given an ovation as she walked onto the court at Louis Armstrong Stadium, the event's second biggest venue.
Her success vaulted her into the top 10 in WTA rankings. She was seeded seventh at the U.S. Open.
Both players opened strong, holding service without surrendering a point, but Bouchard was broken on her next service game with two double faults. Bouchard had a break point in the next game, but Makarova dominated three straight points to take a 3-1 lead.
Makarova was making shots, particularly with a tricky forehand, and held for 4-2 without allowing Bouchard to return a serve.
But Bouchard got on a roll, holding serve with a pair of aces and then winning a challenge en route to a break to tie the set. It was all Makarova in the tiebreak, however.
A telling stat: Bouchard converted only two of 10 break point opportunities in the match.
Raonic was not happy with the schedule makers, who had him play the first match of the day in the third round and then put him on last two days later.
"It's a little weird, that aspect of scheduling, but the atmosphere and all that was fun," he said. "It was fun how many people stuck around."
Nishikori will face third-seeded Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland in the quarter-finals.
Fifth-seeded Raonic found himself in a battle with Nishikori, whose service returns and baseline play had the towering Canadian on his heels for much of the late night match.
After a rare tiebreak loss in the second set, Raonic staved off eight break points in the third. It was his seventh tiebreaker win of the tournament, the most since Younes El Ayanoui in 2003.
"I wish I could have been more efficient in many aspects, like my serves," said Raonic, who was done in by 72 unforced errors despite his 35 aces. "I was losing my serve too many times, especially at the beginning of the match, but I kept fighting and that's all I can ask.
"Then I felt he got a little over me and I was playing to stay alive."
Raonic is 24-10 in tiebreakers for the year, including 16-2 in the hardcourt season.