October 31st, 2014
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It’s all hats off to Eugenie Bouchard who made it through to her first ever Wimbledon final.
Well, that’s not strictly true as the Canadian won the Wimbledon Junior Championship two years ago and how rapidly she has climbed the ladder to reach Centre Court to have a shot at one of the biggest prizes in tennis, the Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles crown.
In making it to her third Grand Slam semi final of the year, the gritty young Canadian has finally taken another step forward in her young career. There was a big battle of two of the best rising stars in the game in the semi final, as Bouchard took on number three seed and French Open runner up Simona Halep. But as has been the trait with Bouchard so far at SW19, her aggression pulling her through in emphatic style.
Sure, Halep may have been hindered by an early ankle injury, but Bouchard still had to pull out the stops to break the resilience of the Romanian. The opening set was taken 7-6 by Bouchard, the ride through the second being much easier for her as Halep looked off the pace. Despite saving five match points, Halep couldn’t hang on and fell 6-2 in the second set. But while the digging-deep was a feature of Halep’s desire to stay in the tournament, for Bouchard, her determination to attack aggressively never let up.
The young Canadian will now move up into the World’s Top Ten for the first time in her career, despite what happens to her in the final against Petra Kvitova on Saturday. Bouchard has yet to drop a set so far on her route to the final, where she will meet former champion Petra Kvitova. The Czech star had to play her compatriot and friend Lucie Safarova in their semi final clash, and after a tight and challenging first set, Kvitova raced away to win the second set 6-1.
There was a telling gulf of experience between the two when it came down to the second set, in favour of Kvitova. That could be a key thing to come in the final as Kvitova will be at home on Centre Court, where she triumphed over Maria Sharapova back in 2011. As for Bouchard, her experience of winning the Wimbledon Junior title will have been like nothing that she will encounter on Saturday as she steps out for the final. There were signs that the pressure was creeping into the Canadian’s semi final game, struggling to land first serves.
Experience can often tell in situations like this and the two have only met once before, with Kvitova taking a straight sets win in Toronto last year. She could get pushed by the aggression of Bouchard, but Kvitova rightly edges favouritism. Petra Kvitova will go into this one as favourite at a price of 3/4, with Bouchard running at 6/5.