Indian Wells, United States (AFP) - Former world No. 5 Eugenie Bouchard's 2017 struggles continued Thursday at Indian Wells, where she fell in the first round to Germany's Annika Beck.
Beck made the most of Bouchard's errors to dispatch the Canadian 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Although it was her second first round exit in as many tournaments since her third round defeat at the Australian Open, Bouchard said she was encouraged to be playing pain-free after battling an abdominal injury since Melbourne.
"I didn't have a good serving day today, but I did have a pain-free serving day today so that was really good," said the 23-year-old, who shot to stardom with her run to the Wimbledon final in 2014.
Now that she's able to train at 100 per cent, Bouchard said, she hopes she can get her season on track and improve on her current 53rd-ranking in the world.
"I feel like it is now at 100 per cent for sure, it has for a couple of weeks," she said of her training.
"But as soon as you start training 100 per cent it doesn't translate automatically.
"You still need weeks and weeks of that to feel like normal."
Andrea Petkovic booked an all-German clash with second-seeded Angelique Kerber, and she's hoping some inside knowledge will help her get past her Olympic team-mate and friend.
Kerber is the top player in the draw and guaranteed to return to world No. 1 thanks to Serena Williams' injury withdrawal.
She enjoyed a first-round bye while Petkovic was leading Vania King 6-0, 2-0 when the American retired from their first-round match Thursday with a left ankle injury.
"That's definitely not how I want to win a match," Petkovic said after notching just her second career win at Indian Wells in seven appearances.
"But up until then I was actually happy with my performance." She'll need to be at the top of her game to get past Kerber, who has won seven of their 10 prior meetings.
"We played doubles at the Olympic Games last year - we even shared a room last year in Brazil," Petkovic said.
"I know how she breathes at night, even. I hope I can use that against her in the next match."
Elsewhere, Croatia's Donna Vekic made the most of her wild card with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) victory over American Alison Riske, setting up a meeting with fourth-seeded Romanian Simona Halep.
Halep, the 2015 Indian Wells champion, is eager to get back to work since being sidelined by a left knee injury since hobbling out of the St Petersburg tournament in early February.
"I am addicted a little bit to this sport," she said. "When I don't have competition, it's tough to live."
Despite her competitive streak, Halep said she was trying to keep her expectations in check.
"I'm just happy the pain is not there anymore," she said. "I cannot think about the results, I cannot think about winning a lot of matches right now because of this knee."
Former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic, the 2010 champion making her 16th appearance at Indian Wells, held on for a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory over US wild card Irina Falconi.
Jankovic, who had endured two WTA first round exits since reaching the third round of the Australian Open, booked a meeting with 12th-seeded Venus Williams.