/ Tennis

Eugenie continues to blossom at Australian Open as Na also advances

Updated: Tuesday, 21 Jan 2014 18:05 | Comments

Eugenie Bouchard is the first Canadian to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open Li Na is one step away from reaching a third Melbourne final
Eugenie Bouchard is the first Canadian to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open Li Na is one step away from reaching a third Melbourne final

Eugenie Bouchard has another major scalp to add to her growing collection after knocking out Ana Ivanovic to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

The 19-year-old is playing in the main draw in Melbourne for the first time, and the main draw of a grand slam event for only the fourth time, but has looked completely at home on the big stage.

She did not allow losing the first set against Serena Williams' conqueror to bother her and got stronger as the match went on to beat Ivanovic 5-7 7-5 6-2.

She was again roared on by 'Genie's Army', a group of Australians who have been supporting the Canadian in all her matches.

After the last four matches they have thrown her a cuddly toy onto court, and on Tuesday she received a wombat to go with her koala, kangaroo and kookaburra.

Bouchard was named the WTA's newcomer of the year in 2013 and she went into this tournament seeded for the first time at a major.

But there is no sense of wide-eyed excitement for the teenager, who faces fourth seed and two-time Australian Open champion Li Na in the last four.

Bouchard said: "It's something I've been doing since I was five years old and working my whole life for and sacrificing a lot of things for. So it's not exactly a surprise. I always expect myself to do well.

"I'm just happy to have gone through this step. I'm not done. I have a match on Thursday. I'm just looking forward to that."

It is Bouchard's temperament that marks her out from her fellow young guns.

Ivanovic had just pegged the Canadian back from 4-1 to 4-3 in the second set when she took a lengthy medical time-out, but Bouchard won the next game and, eventually, the set.

The defeat was a major disappointment for Ivanovic after the high of her win over Williams, but she refused to blame a leg problem.

"She played really well, especially in that third set," said the 26-year-old, who has not made the semi-finals at a slam since winning the French Open in 2008.”

Na stayed on course for another Australian Open final appearance with a comprehensive win over Flavia Pennetta.

The Chinesewoman has twice been a beaten finalist in Melbourne, most recently losing to Victoria Azarenka 12 months ago.

Fourth seed Li saved a match point against Lucie Safarova in the third round but has been untroubled since and powered past Pennetta 6-2 6-2.

Pennetta, appearing in her first Australian Open quarter-final, at least avoided the ignominy of a love set, saving two set points when Li served for the first at 5-0.

But it was only a brief respite as Li eased into a 4-0 lead in the second set and wrapped up victory in only an hour and seven minutes.

Li Na stayed on course for another Australian Open final appearance with a comprehensive win over Flavia Pennetta in the last eight.

The Chinesewoman has twice been a beaten finalist in Melbourne, most recently losing to Victoria Azarenka 12 months ago.

Fourth seed Li saved a match point against Lucie Safarova in the third round but has been untroubled since and powered past Pennetta 6-2 6-2.

Pennetta, appearing in her first Australian Open quarter-final, at least avoided the ignominy of a love set, saving two set points when Li served for the first at 5-0.

But it was only a brief respite as Li eased into a 4-0 lead in the second set and wrapped up victory in only an hour and seven minutes.

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