It was a successful Grand Slam debut for Eugenie Bouchard.
But it only gets harder from here.
Playing in her first Grand Slam main draw, the Montreal native defeated Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova 6-1, 7-6 (2) Monday to reach the second round of the French Open.
Next up for Bouchard — defending champion Maria Sharapova.
The second-seeded Russian defeated Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei in straight sets to advance Monday.
It will be the second time Bouchard has met Sharapova with Sharapova winning 6-2, 6-0 earier this year in Miami.
“I definitely plan on doing better this time,” said Bouchard.
The 19-year-old Bouchard, who won the junior women’s crown at Wimbledon last summer, is definitely playing with confidence.
“It’s not surprising to me because I know I can play this well,” said Bouchard, who reached the semifinals last week in Strasbourg. “I feel really good in competition right now.”
Bouchard, ranked No. 77 in the world, won the first set in 25 minutes but needed a tiebreaker in the next set to secure the win.
“I think I might have lost focus a little bit, but she definitely raised her level, she started serving much better,” said Bouchard. “I stayed pretty calm, I knew I was playing well. I knew I could close the second set. At 5-all I had a good hold, and then played pretty well in the tiebreak.”
She broke her opponent four times on 10 chances and produced 27 winners.
Meanwhile, Ottawa-born Jesse Levine was eliminated in his opening match, falling 6-3, 6-2, 6-0 to Japan’s Kei Nishikori.
Levine, who recently switched allegiances to play for Canada after representing the U.S., ends his brief spring clay season with a 0-2 record at the ATP level after qualifying for the Madrid Masters.
Levine was playing at Roland Garros for the second time and stands 1-2 for his career at the venue after winning a round a year ago.
He had a brief flicker of hope early as he earned the first break of the match for a 3-1 lead in the opening set. But the 13th-seeded Nishikori quickly regained control in the next game.
“We know each other pretty well,” said Levine. “Kei might have been a bit nervous at the start, he was not playing like himself at all.
“He then played a good game to break me, once he gets on a roll, I know I’m in trouble. His level is higher than mine and I’m not used to his kind of pace.”
Levine said he needs to work with his coach to raise his game.
“I hit what I think is a good shot and it comes right back and me and ends up hurting me,” he said. “That’s something I need to work on, I’ll be discussing it with my coach. Kei played well, credit to him today.”
Levine was not helped by five double-faults and losing serve eight times in the 90-minute match. Levine managed nine winners to 26 for Nishikori and was burdened by 33 unforced errors.
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