Bouchard battles her way into quarter-finals at Wimbledon
LONDON — Eugenie Bouchard has been here before, and it shows.
Playing at the humid, covered Centre Court at the All England Club and trailing her opponent 5-3 in the second set, Bouchard won four straight games Monday to beat France’s Alize Cornet 7-6 (5), 7-5 and advance to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.
With Cornet serving for the set, Bouchard didn’t panic and broke her opponent twice, including on match point.
Though only 20 years old, the experience from making the semifinals of both the Australian Open and French Open earlier this year is paying dividends.
“I’m proud that I stayed in it even though I was kind of playing catch-up,” Bouchard said after the match. “I always felt right there, trying to put pressure (on) all the time.”
Bouchard, the No. 13 seed from Westmount, Que., will next play the winner of a match between fifth seed Maria Sharapova and ninth seed Angelique Kerber of Germany.
Sharapova defeated Bouchard in the French Open semifinal before going on to win the tournament.
Bouchard has been a winner at the All England Club before, taking the 2012 junior women’s title. Conditions were different for Monday’s match, which was interrupted by rain before the movable roof over Centre Court closed.
The 20-year-old Canadian made the most of her return when play resumed, coming back from a 3-2 deficit to win the first set. A bigger comeback in the second allowed her to improve her Grand Slam record to 14-2.
“I’m really proud of how I fought,” Bouchard said. “It was not an easy match. She’s a good player and gets a lot of balls back.
“I tried to finish off the points, which I managed. It was my first time under the famous roof. It’s quite humid, not a lot of air circulating.
“Conditions were tough but they were the same for both of us.”
Bouchard won the opening set after nearly an hour of play with a backhand winner in the tiebreaker.
She went down 4-2 and later 5-3 in the second set, but calmly levelled for 5-all, breaking when Cornet fired a forehand wide.
“We had some tough points, she has good wheels,” Bouchard said. “I had to really try and finish off the point. That made for some really tough, physical points. It’s definitely the most physical match I’ve played I think this tournament.
“She’s a good fighter, too. We were really just battling.”
Bouchard held serve to go up 6-5 and won the tight concluding game with another break of Cornet, advancing on the first match point when Cornet hit her forehand long.
“I’m very excited, but I need to stay focused,” said Bouchard, who is the first Canadian in the Open era to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in singles play. “It can only be one match at a time. I need to keep from being distracted.
“This what I’ve world so hard for. I want to take another step, I want to keep going.”
Men’s eighth seed Milos Raonic, Thornhill, Ont, will play for the quarter-finals on Tuesday against Japan’s 10th seed Kei Nishikori, who defeated Simone Bolelli of 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4.