DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Eugenie Bouchard took another step in her comeback on the WTA Tour by battling to a 5–7, 6–3, 7–6 (4) victory over Latvian qualifier Anastasija Sevastova in the first round of the Qatar Open on Sunday.
The 22-year-old Canadian, who reached as high as world number five in October 2014, the year when she reached the final of Wimbledon before losing to Petra Kvitova, is now ranked 61st on the WTA Tour.
Bouchard is making a comeback this year after giving a walkover in the fourth round of the 2015 U.S. Open to Roberta Vinci. She had suffered a concussion after slipping and falling down in the locker room.
Bouchard, who is now involved in a legal battle with the United States Tennis Association following the incident, will meet either 15th-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine or Czech player Denisa Allertova in the next round.
Bouchard, who accepted a wildcard for the tournament, finally won her match after two hours and 28 minutes. She saved nine break points.
“I haven’t played a match for some time, so I am glad to get a good, tough outing in the first round,” said Bouchard, whose last match was a second-round loss to Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round of the Australian Open.
“I’m just so grateful to be back on tour after a rough end of last season. I’m just so happy to be doing what I love, to be playing in front of the fans, to enjoy this life.”
The top eight seeded players, including world No. 2 and Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber of Germany, have a bye to the second round.
Karolina Pliskova, seeded 10th, lost rather tamely to Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan 6–1, 6–1 after struggling to get her first serves in during the whole match.
Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, a former top-10 player now ranked 28th, continued her domination of Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova, beating her 6–3, 6–2 in the last match of the day. She is now 4–0 in head-to-head against her Russian rival.
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Croatia’s Donna Vekic brushed aside Omani wildcard Fatma Al Nabhani, winning 6–0, 6–0 in 50 minutes.