By Steve Gorten
KEY BISCAYNE – German qualifier Tatjana Maria pulled off the second-biggest upset of the 2015 Miami Open on Saturday with a 6-0, 7-6 (4) second-round win against the world’s No. 7 ranked women’s player Eugenie Bouchard.
“It’s the best win I’ve ever had,” said Maria, whose last win against a top-10 opponent came in 2010. “And it’s after my baby break [in 2013]. It’s the biggest win for me and I’m super happy. It feels amazing.”
Maria’s win came two days after wild-card entrant Daria Gavrilova knocked off No. 2 Maria Sharapova in the second round.
Like Sharapova, Bouchard, the tournament’s No. 6 seed, received a first-round bye. Maria, the world’s 113th ranked player, earned a spot in the main draw by winning two qualifying matches, and then beating Roberta Vinci of Italy 7-6 (9), 6-3.
Maria and Bouchard had not played each other before Saturday. After failing to win a game in the opening set, Bouchard led 5-3 in the second set. Maria held serve and then broke Bouchard’s serve to pull even. Maria said it was “very important” not to let the match reach a third set.
“I knew after the first set that I have to keep going because I saw that she didn’t feel too well out there,” Maria said. “Even when I was down 5-3, I think she was never really in the game. So it was important for me to stay positive and try to win it in two sets.”
It’s been a disappointing year so far for Bouchard.
The 21-year-old Canadian started strong by reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, where she lost to Sharapova. But then Bouchard lost her first match at Belgium and was then beaten in the Round of 16 at Indian Wells by qualifier Lesia Tsurenko.
“I only played my game. It was nothing really special that I did,” Maria said. “I had a feeling she wasn’t comfortable against my style.”
It was a tough match,” Bouchard said. “I didn’t really know anything about my opponent. It’s always tough playing someone like that. And her style of play is very consistent. I didn’t really find my way into the court. I was trying to be aggressive, but I was being a little inconsistent as well. She was very solid. That’s how she won.”
Added Bouchard: “I’m guess I’m going to take a day off, and then I’m going to practice a lot and try to put this one behind me as soon as possible.”