MELBOURNE, Australia — Canadian Eugenie Bouchard admitted her heart was pounding during an Australian Open second-round defeat against fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.
But the 21-year-old from Westmount, Que., took that as a good sign as she lost 6-4, 6-2 Wednesday in what she called "the biggest match I've played in a while against the toughest opponent by far since my comeback from injury."
"It was my toughest test, I did OK," Bouchard said of the 90-minute contest in the showcase Rod Laver Arena.
The Canadian is coming back from a concussion suffered in a fall in the locker-room at the U.S. Open last year. She leaves the Grand Slam in Melbourne with wins in seven of her last 10 matches.
Bouchard blamed big-match stress for her elevated heartbeat during the match in which she finished with 25 winners and 37 unforced errors, breaking only once in seven tries.
"I noticed the heart rate was up highest it's ever been in a match," she said. "I felt OK, but I was feeling how hard it was physically. Aga doesn't give you any points for free so I had to work for every one."
Bouchard said she's not suffering from any concussion symptoms.
"So far so good — that's the most important thing," she said. "I've been able to play three weeks in a row over here. That's a victory for me no matter what the my results are."
Bouchard started well, securing a 4-2 first-set lead with a break on a winning drop shot. But she was unable to capitalize as her opponent broke back a game later on a Bouchard double-fault.
Bouchard was broken for a second time as Radwanska claimed a 5-4 margin and secured the opener after 48 minutes on a fifth set point, an inside-out forehand winner that Bouchard could not reach.
After losing serve to start the second set, Bouchard's level dropped as Radwanska began to take control, earning a second break of serve for a 5-2 lead.
Bouchard made a last stand, earning three break points in the eighth game — all saved. Radwanska got her victory chance from a Bouchard backhand to the net before a concluding error.
Earlier Wednesday, Toronto's Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil of Vancouver made it through to the second round of men's doubles.
Nestor and partner Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic needed just 58 minutes to dispatch Tsung-Hua Yang and Cheng-Peng Hsieh of Taiwan 6-1, 7-5.
Earlier this month, Nestor became the first player in ATP Tour history to record 1,000 doubles victories with a win in the opening round at the Apia International in Sydney.
In their match, ninth-ranked Pospisil and American partner Jack Sock defeated Philipp Petzschner of Germany and Alexander Peya of Austria, 1-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5).
In women's doubles, Gaby Dabrowski of Ottawa and Polish partner Alicja Rosolska lost their first-round match 6-1, 7-6 to Johanna Konta and Heather Watson.
No. 13 seed Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., will face unseeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo late Wednesday in second-round play. Raonic won his opener in three sets over Lucas Pouille of France.
The Canadian Press