World number 330 Eugenie Bouchard has won the first completed main draw match at the Prague Open in a rain-affected day of play. The former Wimbledon finalist eased past eighth-seeded Veronika Kudermetova, 6-0, 6-3.
In the process, Bouchard registered her first win on clay-court since 2018. This was the second time that she faced the 23-year old Russian. Both times, it was the Canadian who emerged as the winner.
Before Bouchard's match, an all-Czech first-round encounter between Linda Fruhvirtova and Kristyna Pliskova was suspended twice because of thunderstorms. Pliskova was leading 3-2. Then, the third-seeded Elise Mertens' match against Jasmine Paolini couldn't start.
Fourth-seeded Dayana Yastremska had to withdraw from the competition at the last moment due to tooth pain.
Last week, the Palermo Open became the first European WTA tournament to start amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. The Prague Open followed suit. The rules implemented in Prague are the same as those followed in the previous tournament.
No spectators and media crew are allowed inside the venue. It has also has been decided that each player will be responsible for handling their own towels. The athletes are forbidden even from shaking hands with each other. The tournament organisers have completely booked one floor of a hotel in Prague, where players will stay isolated from the outer world.
After the match, according to Tennis.com, Bouchard said, "I'm proud of myself with the way I stayed focused. My rhythm was off on my serve in the first set, so I need to look at that. I'm happy I could find a solution."
Bouchard was given a wild-card entry into the competition. The Canadian had previously missed all of February's schedule due to a wrist injury. The tour was then halted in March because of the pandemic situation.
Bouchard, although currently ranked beyond 300 in the world, was once a fifth-ranked player globally and ended up being the runner-up in the 2014 Wimbledon, where she lost to Petra Kvitova. In the process, she had become the first Canadian ever to have reached the final of a Grand Slam tournament.
The 26-year old also reached the semifinals of the Australian Open and French Open in 2014. That year was a particularly impressive one for the player.