REUTERS – France’s Alize Cornet thrashed an error-prone Eugenie Bouchard 6-1 6-2 to win the Hobart International title on Saturday, bringing the Canadian former Wimbledon semi-finalist’s nascent resurgence to a shuddering halt.
Cornet dominated the contest on a blustery day in Tasmania, winning the first set at a canter after an early exchange of breaks and rattling off six straight games in the second to secure her fifth WTA title.
“I was just focused on what I had to do, the wind didn’t make it easy for either of us,” the world number 42 said after the trophy presentation.
“I just tried to do my best on the court. I’m so happy I could lift this trophy, it’s my fifth one only so it makes it really special.”
Bouchard had a miserable 2015 season after her breakthrough 2014, plunging from seventh to 49th in the rankings and exiting the U.S. Open after a nasty fall in the Flushing Meadows dressing rooms.
The 21-year-old’s season ended in tears in Beijing with a withdrawal after she suffered a recurrence of concussion symptoms.
Back-to-back wins at the Shenzhen Open to open the season and her run to the final in Hobart had triggered hopes that she might be returning to her best form in time for next week’s Australian Open.
Her game all but fell apart on Saturday, however, with five double faults and a 48 percent success rate on her first serve enabling Cornet to establish her dominance.
“It was a tough one for me today, sometimes these things happen,” Bouchard said. “My opponent was playing some great tennis and I wasn’t on top of my game today.”
Both players will now make the short journey across the Bass Strait to Melbourne for the year’s first grand slam, where Bouchard will face Serbian Aleksandra Krunic in the opening round.
Cornet will play Bojana Jovanovski, another Serbian, in the first round with world number two Simona Halep potentially lying in wait in the second.
“It is a tough draw but anything is possible in tennis if you believe in yourself,” the 25-year-old said.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Patrick Johnston)