Tennis: Bouchard battles into quarters at Hobart, to meet top seed Giorgi

Eugenie Bouchard of Canada hits a return during the singles quarterfinal match at the Shenzhen Open WTA tennis tournament.
Eugenie Bouchard of Canada hits a return during the singles quarterfinal match at the Shenzhen Open WTA tennis tournament.PHOTO: AFP

HOBART, Australia (AFP) - Canada's Eugenie Bouchard struggled for form but managed to win through to the quarter-finals of the Hobart International tennis tournament on Tuesday.

The former world No. 5, whose ranking has dipped to 47 after a fall at the US Open scuppered the end of her 2015 season, fought through to down Belgian Alison van Uytvanck 6-4, 7-5.

While Bouchard took under an hour to breeze past American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in Monday's first round, she was taken to 12 games in the second set against the 44th-ranked van Uytvanck.

"(I'm) happy I fought and pulled through, she's a tough player and can hit some big shots," Bouchard said.

"I just felt my timing was a bit off and my serve was definitely not there so at least I pulled through.

"I definitely want to be able to play better than that.

"I really had to fight and stay calm and not get too negative.

"So many things go into a match like this that they're good to pull out of victorious."

Bouchard, 21, who reached the semi-finals of the 2014 Australian and French Opens before playing in the final at Wimbledon in the same year, suffered a big setback at the US Open last September.

She sustained a head injury after slipping in the locker room and was forced to pull out of her fourth-round match at Flushing Meadows with concussion.

She withdrew from an event in Wuhan, China later that month and retired midway through a first-round match in Beijing with dizziness.

Looking ahead to next week's Australian Open, Bouchard said: "I still feel like I'm far off personally, but it's not too terrible.

"It's kind of like building up the body a bit and preparing for the whole grind of the whole year on tour."

In the quarter-finals, Bouchard faces tournament top seed Italian Camila Giorgi, who reached the last eight with a comfortable straight-set win over Japan's Nao Hibino.