Milos Raonic bounced back from a troublesome first match and Eugenie Bouchard overcame a worrying first set as Canada’s top singles tennis players drew on mental toughness to advance to the third round of the French Open.
Bouchard managed a 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 come-from-behind win over German Julia Goerges on Wednesday, while eighth-seeded Raonic beat Czech Jiri Vesely 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-1 to reach the third round for a third consecutive year.
Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., came back from a break down in the first set and won the hour-long opener in a tiebreak before taking control of the match.
Raonic said he is noticing signs of improvement on court after struggling somewhat in his opening match, a 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 win over Australian qualifier Nick Kyrgios.
“I feel like I’m playing better today than I did three days ago, I think I dealt a little bit better with when I got things figured out as far as intensity,” he said.
“I held it on a little bit better where I struggled a little bit with my match three days ago. The court is playing a little bit slower than you would expect here in Paris, but it’s been going well so far.”
Raonic’s third-round opponent is 29th seed Gilles Simon of France, who will have a partisan crowd behind him.
“It’s going to be tough,” Raonic said.
Raonic and Simon have only faced each other once before, with Raonic winning on clay at the 2011 Estoril Open in Portugal.
Bouchard struggled in the first set before rallying to join Raonic in the third round.
“I wasn’t worried after the first, I just took my time,” said Bouchard. “I just really tried to forget about that I lost the first set and just start fresh. That’s what I did for the second and third.”
The 18th seed from Montreal will play Swede Johanna Larsson, who upset 12th-seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.
“For sure it definitely wasn’t one of my best days, but I’m proud that I was able to turn it around,” Bouchard said. “It was definitely more of a mental win today to get my game back in the right place.”
Bouchard said she stayed mentally strong.
“I have confidence that no matter what happens on the court, I can fight and still give my best and give myself the best chance to win,” she said.
Bouchard broke the 107th-ranked Goerges to end the match, taking the victory with 21 winners and conversions on six of 13 break points.
Bouchard broke twice in the second set and began the third with another break of the German as she raced to a 5-0 lead. But she lost serve in the next game after a forehand error.
She immediately recovered a game later, breaking Goerges back and advancing on her first match point.
“In the first set I felt I wasn’t in the right mental frame of mind, and it just wasn’t good enough for my standards,” Bouchard. “I just needed to regroup after that, and I really focused and got back to playing the way I need to play, which is stepping in, going for my shots.”
Bouchard, a semifinalist at the Australian Open, arrived in Paris after her first WTA title last week in Germany. She was eliminated in the second round at Roland Garros last year, her French Open debut.
In men’s doubles first-round action, Toronto’s Daniel Nestor and Serbian partner Nenad Zimonjic defeated Australia’s Matthew Ebden and Russia’s Dmitry Tursunov 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.