TORONTO — Ana Ivanovic knows all about the kind of struggles that have hampered Canadian Eugenie Bouchard this season.
The 27-year-old Serb was still a teenager when she first made her mark on the WTA Tour. She won her first tournament in 2005 and was one of the top players on the circuit just a few years later.
But Ivanovic had to endure a nasty slump after getting that early taste of success. Bouchard’s young career has taken a similar trajectory and her current season looks a lot like the one Ivanovic would rather forget.
Ivanovic, who beat Belarusian qualifier Olga Govortsova 6-4, 7-6 (4) on Wednesday at the Rogers Cup, struggled mightily in 2010 before rebounding once the hardcourt season began. She fell to 65th in the world rankings that year but regained her confidence with a semifinal appearance in Cincinnati.
Ivanovic rose to No. 17 by the end of that season and has been a regular in the top 10 in recent years. She has 15 career WTA titles on her resume and is proof that perseverance is key.
"I went through that and it’s not easy," Ivanovic said of her slump. "And every person or player goes through it differently because of their character. And (Bouchard) is very young. I think it’s important to go back to her basics and what works for her and to work hard and actually listen to herself. (Do) what she needs to do rather than being too much influenced by outside people.
"Surround herself with the right people and then stick with it."
Bouchard, a former top-five player, had a breakout season in 2014 but this year has been disastrous.
The 21-year-old from Westmount, Que., fell to Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic on Tuesday night and has now lost her opening match at six of her last eight tournaments. She’s on her third coach in the last year and has dropped to No. 25 in the world rankings.
Bouchard looks nothing like the player who reached the Wimbledon final a year earlier. It’s a position that Ivanovic was all too familiar with at one time.
"I really wasn’t finding the purpose in working or playing," she recalled. "And I sort of turned that around a little bit and tried to find fun in the small things because I just felt like everything was about tennis and I just wanted to go to the cinema, to have dinner with my girlfriends on the tour, and (things) that I wasn’t really allowed to do before.
"So I was like trying to find the balance and trying to actually learn what I needed as a person."
Ivanovic battled windy conditions and a sore back in her early afternoon match Wednesday on the grandstand court at Aviva Centre. She’ll play Polona Hercog in the third round after the Slovenian qualifier surprised 11th-seeded Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-2, 6-7 (2), 7-5.
There were some other upsets on a warm, sunny afternoon on the York University campus. Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko topped eighth-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain 7-5, 6-1 and seventh-seeded Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic dropped a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 decision to Russia’s Daria Gavrilova.
In other early matches, second-seeded Simona Halep of Romania downed Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 6-4 and Alize Cornet of France beat Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-2.
German qualifier Carina Witthoeft defeated American Alison Riske 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 and Sabine Lisicki of Germany got by Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (3), 6-4. Roberta Vinci of Italy defeated Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia 6-3, 6-3 and Italy’s Sara Errani beat American Madison Brengle 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.
In evening play, Germany’s Andrea Petkovic downed Britain’s Heather Watson, 6-4, 6-3. Bencic toppled fourth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 7-5, 7-5. Victoria Azarenka of Belarus upset third-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-3. Germany’s Angelique Kerber got past Monica Puig of Puerto Rico 6-2, 6-3 and sixth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland beat German Julia Goerges 7-5, 6-3.
Tsurenko, the world No. 54, needed 77 minutes to complete her victory over one of the rising stars on the WTA Tour. The 21-year-old Muguruza has risen to ninth in the world rankings after her surprise run at Wimbledon last month.
Muguruza beat four top-15 players before falling to American Serena Williams in the final at the All England Club.
Williams is the top seed at this week’s US$2.38-million hardcourt event. She’s scheduled to play her third-round match on Thursday night.