Two of last year’s four semi-finalists crashed out within an hour of one another as Eugenie Bouchard and Simona Halep both were sent packing at Wimbledon on Tuesday.
Bouchard, last year’s runner-up at SW19, revealed she had ignored doctors’ orders who advised her not to play at Wimbledon after discovering she had a grade 2 abdominal tear but that she insisted she compete.
The Canadian ex-world No5 will drop out of the top 20 after suffering her eighth opening round loss of the season – a shock 7-6 (3), 6-4 defeat to Wimbledon debutante Duan Ying-Ying of China.
After having an incredible 2014 where she made the semis at Roland Garros and final at Wimbledon, Bouchard is having a disaster of a season in 2014, where she hasn’t made back-to-back wins in her last 10 events.
She admits the pressure of defending too many points here had an impact on her but also explained her injury was a big factor.
“I definitely felt tight in the first set. But I also felt very unprepared for this match. That's unfortunate. But I wanted to play, no matter what,” said Bouchard, who hit 10 double faults during the match.
“After Eastbourne, we did testing and I have a grade 2 tear in my ab. Probably wouldn't have been smart to play here, but I couldn't pass on Wimbledon. So I did kind of minimal preparation to save myself for the match.”
The 21-year-old says she is trying to treat each of her losses as isolated incidents.
“I feel like each time I had a loss, there were different reasons for each one. And today there was a different reason for this one,” she says. “It's unfortunate that it happened at my favourite tournament of the year, that I won't get to play any more matches here this year. But I'm going to try to put it behind me and look forward.
“I'm going to take some time to heal and maybe not think about tennis for a little bit, then get right back to it.
“In a way I'm going to be kind of happy to put this period behind me, for sure. Very disappointed in my last couple months. It has kind of been a stressful time.”
Third-seeded Halep, who lost to Bouchard in the semi-finals here last year, made her second consecutive early exit at a slam, having lost in round two at the French Open last month, as she fell to world No106 Jana Cepelova 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.
Halep has shown flashes of brilliance this season, picking up titles in Shenzhen, Dubai and Indian Wells, but has lacked consistency over the past few months.
“I knew it would be a difficult tournament for me,” said the Romanian world No3, who won just 30 per cent of the points on her second serve.
“But, yeah, I didn't expect to lose in first round. But she played good tennis. She was fighting till the end. She was aggressive when she could. So, yeah, the life is not like every time nice and good with you. But I have enough power to go ahead and just to think what I have to do better to have the good feeling back on court during the matches, and just work.”