Bouchard powers past Halep to Wimbledon final
Powerful Canadian Eugenie Bouchard overcame match-point jitters to pound Romania's Simona Halep 7-6(5) 6-2 in an eventful Wimbledon semi-final today and reach a grand slam final for the first time.
The 20-year-old from Montreal harried and chased Halep from the baseline, producing a series of forehand winners.
The match was interrupted three times. After four games Halep needed treatment on a sore ankle. Then in the tiebreak a spectator was taken ill in the sunshine and had to be led from the stand.
In the final set after Halep had saved the first match point, former junior Wimbledon champion Bouchard stopped to complain of a noise in the crowd. It took her five more nervy match points to complete victory and set up a meeting with 2011 champion Petra Kvitova.
Earlier in the day, Kvitova had ruthlessly ended the grand slam hopes of her friend Lucie Safarova in an all-Czech semi-final and set her sights on claiming a second Wimbledon title against a young upstart chasing her first.
The 2011 champion overcame the plucky resistance of Safarova 7-6 (6) 6-1 to set up a showdown with Bouchard.
Kvitova, whose Wimbledon triumph as a 21-year-old prompted nine-times singles champion Martina Navratilova to predict that the young Czech would go on to dominate the women's game, feels ready to start fulfilling expectations.
"I think these three years were really up and down. I knew that a lot of people were probably expecting something more from me," the 24-year-old told reporters.
"But on the other side, I was still in the top 10 and I did everything I could. I was practising very hard and everything ... I'm back in the final and I'm feeling well."
Bouchard, meanwhile, is a leading light among the new generation of players that have wowed the All England Club this year and reached the semi-finals of both the Australian and French Opens.