31 Dec 2018

Star power on centre court in Auckland

12:55 pm on 31 December 2018

Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard is the headlining act on day one of the ASB Classic women's tournament in Auckland today.

Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard

Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard Photo: AFP

Bouchard, 2014 Wimbledon finalist, faces American Madison Brengle in the first round on centre court in Parnell following the first singles match of the day between Monica Puig of Puerto Rico and Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the USA.

Brengle caused the upset of the tournament in 2017 when she beat Serena Williams in three sets - also in the opening round.

Bouchard has played in Auckland once before, back in 2013, as an 18-year-old.

Now 24, Bouchard has been a star on the world tennis circuit but has struggled in recent years with injuries, including a concussion she sustained at the US Open in 2015.

Once ranked fifth in the world, she's now 88th but Bouchard said she's upbeat about her 2019 season following a successful end to 2018 where she reached the quarterfinals of three events and the semi finals in Luxembourg.

"I am really excited to be coming back to Auckland. I came there when I was very young and remember it being so beautiful. I'll be focused and ready to go, but I hope to see a little more of Auckland this time around.

"I felt really strong in my last couple of tournaments and it was nice to reach a semifinal at the highest level again. I know how to be a top ten player and I feel like I'm doing all the right things to reach my goals in 2019."

Also playing today in the singles is 2017 ASB Classic champion Lauren Davis, she faces Spaniard Lara Arruabarrena on the Grandstand court.

In the evening singles match fellow Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo faces Stefanie Vögele of Switzerland.