Thursday, April 26, 2018
Sports

Heat hurts Eugenie Bouchard at U.S. Open

NEW YORK — Bothered by the heat and stifling humidity, Eugenie Bouchard felt dizzy, and her vision was blurry.

She got her blood pressure checked. Plastic bags filled with ice were rubbed on her shoulders, arms and legs during a second-set medical timeout.

Bouchard tried to carry on, but it was hardly an ideal time to try to win a tennis match. The seventh-seeded Bouchard became the latest top woman to bow out at this surprise-filled U.S. Open, beaten 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 Monday by 17th-seeded Ekaterina Makarova of Russia in the fourth round.

Bouchard had made at least the semifinals at each Grand Slam tournament this year, including a runnerup finish at Wimbledon in July. The 20-year-old Canadian is 4-4 since.

"I definitely felt a lot of outside expectations and pressure to win matches. I felt more like it's normal if I win and it's a bit more of a disaster when I lose," Bouchard said. "But that's something that I need to block out."

In muggy air, with the temperature in the high 80s, Bouchard began having trouble from the middle of the first set and was checked on by a trainer during the changeover after the second set's fifth game. During that delay, Makarova cooled down by putting ice bags on herself.

Asked what went through her mind during Bouchard's medical break, Makarova smiled.

"Well, actually, I thought, 'Thanks,' because I also was tired," Makarova said. "It was really (helpful) for me also."

It's not the first time Bouchard has been affected by heat. She said it happened at last year's U.S. Open, too, and as a junior at the Australian Open.

"Once in a while, I get a little bit light-headed," Bouchard said. "That's what happens."

Though Makarova is in the U.S. Open quarterfinals for the second year in a row, Bouchard's early-for-her major exit fits with the way things have gone the past eight days. Of the top 10 seeded women, two remain: No. 1 Serena Williams and No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki.

Williams got to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal of 2014 by overwhelming 50th-ranked Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-3, 6-3. Williams has lost 17 games all told in the tournament, the eighth time she has made it to the U.S. Open quarterfinals dropping that many or fewer.

One of the few glitches came when she tried to serve for the match at 5-2 in the second set, double-faulting twice in a row and getting broken. That, Williams acknowledged, came from feeling a bit of pressure after losing in the Australian Open's fourth round, the French Open's second round and Wimbledon's third round.

"I think I felt it in my service game," she said. "I'm like, 'Can I please make it to a Grand Slam quarters this year?' "

Two-time U.S. Open runnerup Victoria Azarenka returned to the quarterfinals by ending the surprising run of Serbian qualifier Aleksandra Krunic. The 16th-seeded Azarenka won four of the last five games to edge 145th-ranked Krunic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

The top-seeded man, Novak Djokovic, made only 19 unforced errors and faced two break points — both saved — in a 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 victory over 22nd-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber. Djokovic, the 2011 U.S. Open champion, earned a spot in the quarterfinals for the eighth year in a row and at a 22nd consecutive Grand Slam tournament overall. The last time he was eliminated before the quarterfinals at a major was a third-round loss to Kohlschreiber at the 2009 French Open.

Djokovic meets two-time major champion Andy Murray, who got past No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 7-5, 6-4.

In fourth-round men's night matches, No. 3 Stan Wawrinka brushed off a tumble into the stands and beat No. 16 Tommy Robredo 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-2, and No. 5 Milos Raonic played No. 10 Kei Nishikori late.

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