Bouchard sets up Halep duel

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bouchard2 Jul 2

AFP

Canada's Eugenie Bouchard overcame Germany's Angelique Kerber in their women's singles quarter-final match on Wednesday. Photo: Carl Court

London – Eugenie Bouchard moved a step closer to being crowned the queen of Wimbledon as the Canadian glamour girl booked a semi-final showdown with Simona Halep on Wednesday.

Bouchard’s royalty-obsessed mother named the 20-year-old after the younger daughter of Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth II’s second son, while her sister is named after Beatrice, Andrew’s elder daughter.

Those regal connections have earned Bouchard plenty of intrigued inquires from the British media over the last fortnight and the 13th seed looks in the mood for a royal audience with the Duchess of Kent, who traditionally presents the Venus Rosewater dish awarded to the women’s singles champion at the All England Club.

Bouchard reached her first semi-final at the grasscourt Grand Slam and ensured a move into the world top 10 by beating German ninth seed Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4.

Victory also meant that Bouchard has reached the last-four of all three Grand Slams in 2014.

The blonde Canadian was rarely threatened on Court One where Kerber, a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2012, was still feeling the effects of her marathon fourth round win over Maria Sharapova 24 hours earlier.

Bouchard, who will rise to number eight in the world next week to equal the record high-ranking achieved by a Canadian, said: “It was definitely a tough battle, I’ve played her a few times and it’s always been tough, so I knew it wasn’t over.

“I tried to keep fighting and thankfully I did it in the end.

“I’ve been working hard to stay mentally in the moment. I made a few bad errors but I came up with enough winners at the right time.”

Bouchard has played Halep just once – losing in three sets at Indian Wells earlier this year.

“Halep is a very good player, third in the world. I’m definitely xcited to be in the semi-finals and I want to go one step further,” she said.

But Bouchard, beaten in the last four at both the Australian and French Opens, must find a solution to her semi-final failures against a daunting opponent in world number three Halep on Thursday.

Halep swept into her first Wimbledon semi-final with a crushing 6-4, 6-0 victory over 2013 finalist Sabine Lisicki.

Halep recorded her 250th career win in memorable fashion as the world number three dismissed German 19th seed Lisicki, beaten by Marion Bartoli in the final 12 months ago, in just 57 minutes on Centre Court.

The 22-year-old reached her maiden Grand Slam final at the French Open last month and, after winning 11 consecutive games to sink Lisicki, she is on the verge of another major final at the All England Club.

“I played my best today and I was enjoying every moment. It was incredible to be on Centre Court. It was just my second time,” Halep said.

“She had a 4-1 lead but I came back well after that. I’m really happy I could win.

“I have more confidence now and the secret is just to enjoy every match. I feel happy on court and I’m moving well.”

Since losing in the Wimbledon second round last year, Halep has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings from 32nd 12 months ago to her current lofty position of third and now she stands on the verge of breaking new ground back in south-west London.

Halep, who was only the second Romanian to reach the last eight at Wimbledon, had already made the strong showings at both the Australian and French Opens this year, advancing to the final in Paris last month before losing a three-set classic against Sharapova. – Sapa-AFP


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