(Dave Saffran/Sportsday Wire)
Last year, she was the darling of the Open and the next big star.
This year, Eugenie Bouchard was thought to be an afterthought after a disappointing campaign.
Ranked 25th, the Canadian beauty wasn’t supposed to make any waves in Flushing Meadows, but here she is, now in the fourth round after beating Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (9), 4-6, 6-3.
“Continuing to believe, putting my head down, working hard, trying just to regain that confidence, that belief,” Bouchard said. “I mean, nothing specific. It’s not like a magical word or something you can just do overnight. I’ve been trying the whole year to play well. Just doesn’t always happen.
“So I’m glad, though, that I seem to have found more of my rhythm. Jimmy also helped, as well.”
That Jimmy is Jimmy Connors, who has been helping the 21 year-old with the mental aspects of her game at the Open.
It seems to be working.
“He has so much experience, obviously,” she said. “ Just hearing his stories and listening to him speak, you know, I obviously respect him so much. I think he was great mentally when he played.
“Just the little tips and advice he would give me. The fact that he told me he truly believes in me reminded me, Hey, I need to believe in myself as well. We just needed to build up my confidence a little bit.
“He said, you know, You’re too good to be having the results you’re having. He’s definitely helped me in my time of need.”
Besides singles, Bouchard is also in both doubles draws. She won mixed today with Australian bad boy Nick Kyrgios, who beat the team of Elina Svitolina and Artem Sitak, 5-7, 6-3 (10-3).
“It was super fun,” she said. “He’s just really like a funny guy. I was laughing like the whole time. That’s probably why I’m extra tired now because I was just laughing all the time. He has like constant conversations with like people in the crowd. So I was just listening. It was just so funny.
“But, yeah, we told ourselves we were going to be so relaxed, just have fun. That’s all I wanted to do. Deep down we both really wanted to win, so we were like pretty pumped that we won.”
Tomorrow she will be teaming with Elena Vesnina in women’s doubles.
“I got told as well that I’m the only pair left in all three events,” she said. “I wanted to keep that going. That was my ultimate goal when I signed up for all three. Very proud of myself for that. Yeah, obviously a great team. We’re just going to go for it and have fun again. You never know what happens in doubles or mixed doubles.”
In any event, we are seeing a different girl here and all she is doing is having a good time here at the Open.
“In terms of performance — or results, sorry – I would say no,” she said. “I just want to focus match by match. When I was coming into this tournament, one win was a huge thing for me.
“I want to keep it that way. You know, every match you try to do as well as you can. If you win, it’s a great thing. Every match in a way is, like, really important to me. That’s how I’m going to keep looking at it.
“Including doubles and mixed, so I have two tomorrow.”