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Bouchard retires hurt but says will play Wimbledon 'on one leg'.

Eugenie Bouchard receives medical attention before retiring from her Aegon International third round match yesterday. (Reuters)

A defiant Eugenie Bouchard said she was ready to play on one leg at Wimbledon next week after an abdominal problem forced the world number 12 to retire from her third-round match against Belinda Bencic at the Aegon International yesterday.

Bouchard, who lost in the final at Wimbledon last year, called for the trainer when she was trailing 6-4, 3-0 with Bencic poised to serve, before deciding it would be better not to aggravate the injury.

Having burst on to the scene so thrillingly last year, it is the latest setback for Bouchard in what has been a miserable season for the Canadian -- after dropping out of the top 10 earlier this month, she has lost 10 of her past 12 matches and has only eight wins in 2015.

Yet Bouchard managed to keep a smile on her face when she spoke about what was troubling her against Bencic, the gifted Swiss teenager who thrashed the defending champion, Madison Keys, on Tuesday. While Bouchard could not specify how serious the injury is yet, she is determined not to miss Wimbledon.

"I don't know at this point but I was feeling it during the match," Bouchard said. "It just wasn't smart for me to take a risk and, you know, potentially be out for a long time. It's something I want to kind of take care of right away.

"I'm going to play no matter what, even if I'm on one leg. I will take a few days off from serving and give it a little break and see how it goes.

"Considering next week is such an important event, everyone prepares as best they can, so that's what I'm trying to do as well."

Bouchard was asked if anything could keep her away from SW19. Her answer was emphatic. "No," she said. "I'm going out there with one leg, like I said."

Bouchard appeared to have emerged from the rut that has dragged her tennis down in recent months when she ended a four-match losing streak by beating Alison Riske 7-6, 6-3 in the second round on Tuesday. Things were looking up after that win.

Yet she started to feel pain in her stomach as her match against Bencic wore on. Her serve slowed down noticeably and she dropped the first set after Bencic broke to lead 5-4. Matters deteriorated even further when she was broken twice at the start of the second set.

"During the first set, you know, I was serving at a much slower pace than even just yesterday, and I kept trying and trying," Bouchard said. "I mean, at the end it was hard for me to put a serve in just because I felt that pain a little bit. I thought it would be better to stop.

It is not the first time Bouchard has had an abdominal problem this year. However she did not expect it to flare up against Bencic. "It's something I have had in the past, though," she said. "But it started today. I will go see the doctors and physios again. Just rest a little bit today, tomorrow at least, and see how it feels on the weekend. You know, just kind of save myself for matches maybe. They know I intend to play, so it's just about managing it to the best of my abilities because it is a grand slam."

If she plays with the injury next week, Bouchard admitted that it could affect her ability to serve at her maximum. "The serve is so important in tennis and I don't know," she said. "It's just something I didn't want to take a risk with, especially since I had a small issue with it earlier this year, as well, and had to take some time off after."

Bouchard's fitness woes should take nothing away from another fine victory for Bencic. The 18-year-old will play Britain's Johanna Konta in her quarter-final.

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Publication:Gulf Times (Doha, Qatar)
Date:Jun 24, 2015
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