Many were expecting an “after the Lord Mayors” shown by Bouchard against Kerber in the previous round of this WTA Mutua Madrid Open 2017. Genie drew upon every ounce of grit, guile and determination to see off arch-rival Sharapova in the 2nd round and world number 1: Kerber is in the 3rd round.

Despite being one of the best, tensest and most exciting games of tennis (especially for a 2nd round match) – tonight’s match against seasoned clay courter and number 8 seed, Svetlana Kuznetsova, bore out the fact that Genie still has work to do to return to her form of 2014.

Bouchard makes an edgy to the key match against Kuznetsova

Bouchard emerged to a warm reception from the crowd, but this didn’t extend to Kuznetsova who worked Bouchard hard in her first service game. However, despite being pegged back to deuce twice, the chirpy Canadian scrambled to a hold. The Russian (yes a compatriot of Sharapova – take from that what you will) had little trouble in her first service game – building points from the foundation of a potent first serve.

This became a theme of the set and Bouchard was unable to withstand the pressure on her serve in the 3rd game, as she was broken a little too easily from the viewpoint of the ‘Genie Army’, no doubt. It was almost as though this relaxed the Sharapova-conqueror a little, as she made The Russian work harder for her service holds.

That said these efforts came a little too late in the set and Kuznetsova dug deep to close it out 6-4.

Rampant Kuznetsova crushes Bouchard in the 2nd set

It wasn’t the end to the Mutua Madrid Open that the previous three matches warranted for Bouchard, but Kuznetsova stepped up a gear and Bouchard lost heart and soul. The second set flew by in 36 minutes with Kuznetsova breezing though it to nil, closing out a 6-4, 6-0 victory.

This must have commentators adding the Russian’s name to the list of potential winners of the next Grand Slam – the French Open 2017.

All the same – a promising tournament for Bouchard

Three consecutive victories against good calibre players: Cornet, Sharapova and Kerber, means that Bouchard can build upon this in the rest of the season and take momentum into the grass court season.

This could be a season salvaging effort from Bouchard – let’s hope so because like her or not, she is great for the game.

Kuznetsova now faces another Sharapova conqueror; Kristina Mladenovic in an intriguing, well-matched semi-final.