QUEBEC CITY, CANADA: Eugenie Bouchard has added Canada's red and white maple leaf flag for the first time ever to the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas elite eight nations.
Bouchard, the world No. 18, was happy about booking Canada's place in next year's World Group with a victory against Slovak Republic No. 1 Jana Cepelova on Sunday.
"I feel like I've played a lot of matches for Fed Cup in the past two years and I've won most of them, so I'm pretty proud to say that I was part of it and that I kind of led Canada to this World Group," said Bouchard, who also defeated Kristina Kucova to win the second rubber Saturday.
"I think it's a good accomplishment for Canada to be considered one of the top nations in tennis, so of course I'm proud and looking forward to next year."
A tight first set against Cepelova saw the Slovak miss the chance to serve out the set and then failed to convert a set point on Bouchard's serve before a tiebreak turned the tide in the hosts' favour.
The 20-year-old Bouchard, who proudly displays a Canadian flag on her right cheek in Fed Cup competition, held her nerve to take the first set by an 8-6 scoreline and then powered her way home in the second set to record a 76(6) 63 victory and take the key third point for the hosts.
Bouchard had been made to work harder than she might have expected in yesterday's second rubber, dropping the second set to Kristina Kucova, a player ranked over 100 places below her. But the Canadian accelerated away from Kucova in the final set to provide the basis for today's victory.
"I was aware that I did have a few break points against me but I wasn't too pleased," Bouchard said. "I felt like I started out kind of a bit playing a bit like yesterday's match and not feeling completely great, a few random unforced errors here and there which I normally expect myself not to make, but I think I still kind of had this adaptation process from the clay to the hard and it's tough to really get into a high competition match right away after just a few days of practice so I'm so pleased that I was able to work through it.
"Even if she had break points or whatever, I was still focused on trying to play well on every single point and just to keep fighting and keep trying to play better. Even though I wasn't playing well I knew I could play better and I started doing that and played better in the second."
Earlier on Saturday, Cepelova had thrown away a commanding lead over Aleksandra Wozniak in the opening rubber that began the rout.
"I'm a little disappointed because it was the same situation as (Saturday)," Cepelova said. "I was at 5-3 in the first set but Eugenie played that game really well. I served but she was more aggressive at that moment, and I was back because it was 5-all and I had it 6-5, but the tie-break was bad luck for me."
Slovak Republic was without No. 10 Dominika Cibulkova, 30th-ranked Daniela Hantuchova and Magdalena Rybarikova, and will now compete in World Group II next year, ending their two-year stay at the top level.
"I think now we are a little bit sad because we are not in the World Group, but it was a tough situation for us this week because we don't have our three best players here," Cepelova said. "But we tried fighting and the matches we're really, really tough, and bad luck for us."
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) - 20/04/2014
Captain Matej Liptak (SVK) - 20/04/2014
Jana Cepelova (SVK) - 20/04/2014