MELBOURNE, Australia - Eugenie Bouchard powered into the second round of the Australian Open on Monday as the seventh-seeded Canadian star defeated German Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-2, 6-4.
The Genie Army of fans, which came together informally at the event a year ago, was back out in force, cheering on the Westmount, Que., native throughout the 78-minute match.
"The Genie Army started here last year, I'm happy they are still alive and strong," she said after breaking her 98th-ranked opponent four times and hitting 20 winners along the way.
"The first match of a Grand Slam is never easy, I'm happy to get through," she said. "I'm so happy to be back in Melbourne. The support here is crazy."
Bouchard broke twice per set in a routine performance against a player who beat her in an entry-level event in 2012.
"I was happy to start strong," said Bouchard. "Conditions were tough, it was a bit windy and she's a good player. I was happy to stay solid, but there are still a lot of things to improve."
Bouchard will next face Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, who defeated Australian Daria Gavrilova 7-5 (10-8), 5-7, 6-2.
Melbourne was the venue for Bouchard's breakthrough in 2014, when she reached the final four and duplicated the showing at the French Open before playing in the Wimbledon final.
At the All England Club last year, Bouchard became the first Canadian, male or female, to reach a Grand Slam final.
Two other Canadian tennis stars make their first appearances at the Australian Open on Tuesday.
Eighth-seeded Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., faces Illya Marchenko of Ukraine while Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil takes on Sam Querry of the United States.