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Bouchard's slump continues with first-round elimination at French Open

05/26/2015 07:58 EDT | Updated 05/26/2016 05:59 EDT
PARIS - Eugenie Bouchard says she hasn't been feeling like herself lately. That's an understatement, judging by her recent results on the court.

The Canadian tennis star continued her disappointing season Tuesday at the French Open, as the sixth-seed was stunned 6-4, 6-4, by France's Kristina Mladenovic in the first round.

Bouchard has lost eight of her last nine matches combined on the WTA Tour and in Fed Cup play, and most of the defeats have been to players well below her in the WTA rankings.

"Honestly I don't know what to say. It's been kind of the same as how I've been feeling recently on the court. Just not like myself," Bouchard said after the loss to Mladenovic. "It's just a tennis match and I need to not worry too much. Life is still good. Everyone has highs and lows in their career, and this is a little bit of a low point for me."

Tuesday's loss ended is disastrous clay-court season for Bouchard. She managed just one win in four tournaments, beating No. 34 Zarina Diyas earlier this month at the Italian Open before falling in the third round in a hard-fought match against No. 10 Carla Suarez Navarro.

The results in Rome seemed to indicate Bouchard was coming out of a tailspin that saw her lose to the likes of Tatjana Maria (ranked 113th in the world), Lesia Tsurenko (85th) and Lauren Davis (66th).

Yet the native of Westmount, Que., came out flat against Mladenovic on Monday en route to losing a first-round Grand Slam match for the first time in her career.

"I felt a bit better in Rome, so I think that just makes it more disappointing to have a performance like today," Bouchard said. "I feel like it's been a while since this has been happening. It's unfortunate, but I'm sure one day it will stop."

Bouchard's slide includes a pair of singles losses at last month's Fed Cup tie between Canada and Romania in front of a partisan crowd in Montreal. She refused to shake the hand of opponent Alexandra Dulgheru in a pre-match ceremony, a breach of etiquette that caused a media buzz and showed her off-court image is also suffering through this downturn.

In spite of the recent negativity, there were a few positives for Bouchard from Monday's match. In the first set she saved match point four times before finally losing when her volley went long in the 10th game

Bouchard also showed some fight in the second set, battling back from 5-0 down by winning four games in a row. But her comeback started too far too late.

"I felt I was in the match, but tennis-wise I know I was still far off from how I can play," she said. "I felt like I couldn't be as relaxed as I wanted to on the court.

"It's important to try to move on quickly. Every Monday there's a new chance, so I'm going to try to forget this one."

Bouchard reached the semifinal at Roland Garros last year in a breakout season that also saw her advance to the Wimbledon final and the semifinals at the Australian Open.

This year has been the complete opposite for Bouchard, who has struggled after reaching the quarter-finals at the Australian Open.

The normally competitive Bouchard said she had no expectations at this year's French Open, and won't put pressure on herself as she starts the grass season and prepares for another run at Wimbledon.

"At this point I had no expectations going in, and I have no expectations for the foreseeable future. I'm going to try to slowly work my way back up."

Mladenovic has a Canadian connection, as she often pairs with Toronto's Daniel Nestor in mixed doubles. The duo will compete this week in Paris.

Earlier, Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil was eliminated after a first-round loss to Joao Sousa of Portugal.

The 53rd-ranked Canadian fell in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-1.

Pospisil committed 45 unforced errors to Sousa's 16.

The 50th-ranked Sousa converted seven of 14 break chances while Pospisil was 2-for-5.

Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., Canada's top male singles player, is missing the tournament after recent foot surgery.

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