Eugenie Bouchard moved past Twirlgate to keep rolling along down under at the 2015 Australian Open. After being pushed early by the very capable Caroline Garcia, Genie found her way and finished with a flourish, 7-5 6-0. Bouchard’s big 2014 began in Melbourne as she was the only player to reach at least the semifinals in all of the first three Majors of the year. She has looked pretty good so far in 2015. She even had a win over Serena Williams at Hopman Cup. Of course, that doesn’t count towards WTA rankings but it definitely appears as though her end of year struggles were left behind in 2014. If she gets by Irina-Camelia Begu and Maria Sharapova gets by Peng Shuai, we would have a marquee quarterfinal in Masha vs Genie. But neither can allow themselves to look past their fourth round opponents.
Speaking of Masha, she found herself in dire straits against Alexandra Panova in round 2. Round 3, not so much. She was back to being Masha the Great, rolling through 31st seed Zarina Diyas, 6-1 6-1. After what she went through in her previous match, it was good for Sharapova to get a quick double breadstick victory. She’ll need to keep her level of play high taking on the 21st seed Peng Shuai, who reached the semifinals of the 2014 US Open before succumbing to Caroline Wozniacki and heat exhaustion. But it showed she can have success on hard courts (although these are different hard courts). Masha cannot get caught looking ahead to a possible Genie Bouchard match-up in the quarters.
2 MARIA SHARAPOVA (won 6-1 6-1 vs 31 Zarina Diyas)
3 SIMONA HALEP (won 6-4 7-5 vs Bethanie Mattek-Sands)
7 EUGENIE BOUCHARD (won 7-5 6-0 vs Caroline Garcia)
10 EKATERINA MAKAROVA (won 6-4 6-4 vs 22 Karolina Pliskova)
YANINA WICKMAYER (won 4-6 6-4 6-3 vs 13 Sara Errani)