Canada’s new rising star of tennis, Eugenie Bouchard reached her third successive Grand Slam quarter final after an impressive win over Serena Williams’ conqueror Alizé Cornet at Wimbledon on Monday. The 20 year old thirteenth seed prevailed in a highly entertaining match in straight sets, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5. Cornet, showing no hangover from her shock victory on Saturday attacked from the start and played her part admirably. Bouchard will now face the winner of the other fourth round match, either Maria Sharapova or Angelique Kerber in the last eight.
Both players started the match in attacking form, first with Bouchard putting pressure on the Cornet service. The Canadian moved in towards the net on countless occasions, making it difficult for Cornet to win easy points. Several deuces later and a break point saved, the Frenchwoman opened her – and the match’s account. Bouchard’s service game took almost as long and, as with the first, Bouchard too had to save a break point before holding. Fourteen minutes played and it was 1-1.
The Centre Court crowd were treated to some fantastic tennis as both players played high percentage shots seemingly without any pressure or nerves. Bouchard was dictating points on her serve with some punishing forehands down the line and moving Cornet from one side of the court to the other. Cornet did likewise, counter-punching when required and constructing points beautifully; adding deft drop shots to light up Centre on an otherwise dull, damp day.
Bouchard and Cornet traded service holds at a canter before the light rain that was falling on and off throughout got heavier, forcing play to be suspended. Half an hour later the two players were back on court and play resumed at 2-2. Luckily, the quality of play did not dip one ounce, Bouchard assertive in attack, brilliantly smacked away winners with ease and confidence betraying her youth. Cornet was doing likewise, showing courageous defence and some sensational returns of serve.
The first set was evenly poised at 6-6 and a tie-break ensued. Perversely, it was at this point where both players started to make errors, with Bouchard ceding a healthy 4-1 lead to trail 5-4. Cornet however committed errors at the wrong time and Bouchard capitalised, taking the set 7-6 (7-5).
The second set produced more intensity than the first and Bouchard looked to up the pressure. Cornet staunchly defended the onslaught and held for 2-2. To everyone’s surprise the first break of the match came in the fourth game, and it was Cornet who latched onto a slow second serve to fire a forehand down the line. A hold in the fifth game meant Cornet lead 4-2. The 24th seed served for the set while leading 5-4 but could not serve it out; the pressure mounted and Cornet pushed a forehand wide; Bouchard broke to level at 5-5.
The Canadian then held to lead 6-5 and now suddenly, after looking odds on to level the match, Cornet was under increasing pressure. Two mistakes and a failed challenge put Bouchard up 0-30. Cornet replied with some superb defence and a sublime backhand drop shot to make it 15-30; a brave shot considering the precarious score-line. Bouchard was then gifted a chance to end the match earlier than many expected with Cornet pushing another forehand inches wide. Bouchard needed just one opportunity as Cornet again forced a shot long. Great entertainment and a classic Centre Court match put Eugenie Bouchard into another quarter final, winning 7-6 (7-5), 7-5.
“This is what I have been working for so much, a quarter final at Wimbledon so I’m really excited about that. I need to keep focused for the next match” – Eugenie Bouchard. Quote: BBC
Lisicki Triumphs through Rain and Darkness
A match that was due to be completed by Saturday evening eventually came to a conclusion on Monday afternoon after two suspensions of play on No.1 Court. Play was curtailed on Saturday evening due to a lack of light and rain disrupted action on Monday. Through all this action, it was Wimbledon specialist Sabine Lisicki who triumphed in a tight match against Ana Ivanovic, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. As play resumed at 1-1 in the second set, it was Ivanovic who leapt out of the gates the fastest, breaking serve immediately. Such was the lack of rhythm of the match, two consecutive breaks followed in quick succession.
Lisicki was starting to look uncomfortable on the court, and even more so as the rain began to fall again. Ivanovic took full advantage of this to break once more. Now leading 5-2, the rain started to fall even more heavily, with the umpire looking more anxious than Ivanovic and Lisicki together. Lisicki had more reason to be anxious though as Ivanovic forced the German to deuce, giving the Serb a sniff at a set point. Alas the rain became so persistent that play was suspended once again, the match this time poised heavily in Ivanovic’s favour.
The match resumed for the second time at 2-5 (40-40) on Lisicki’s serve. The German 19th seed held serve to make it 5-3 but Ivanovic held her serve and – with the help of a lucky net cord – took the set to force a decider. Lisicki’s 8 unforced errors and 3 double faults along with Ivanovic’s 13 winners told the story of a tight but somewhat scrappy second set.
The third set promised to be as tight as the previous two but it would not turn out that way. Lisicki held her opening service game of the set while Ivanovic started hers with a double fault and a forehand error to give Lisicki the initiative. Lisicki broke after increasing pressure on the Ivanovic serve; the Serb netting a forehand.
A trade of service holds followed before Lisicki broke once more; the German sending powerful forehands deep onto the baseline. Ivanovic could not get enough purchase on the backhand and the ball limped into the net; Lisicki needing only to serve out the match at 5-1.
Lisicki then held serve to love and finished an entertaining encounter with her seventh ace of the match – straight down the T-line. In an ultimately stop-start match, No.1 Court saw, at times, scintillating tennis in a match worthy of quarter final stakes. But it was grass court expert Sabine Lisicki who powered into the fourth round.
“It was a good match. I was ready and she [Ivanovic] hit amazing winners. In the end I think we both were playing well” – Sabine Lisicki. Quote: BBC
Image source: © http://www.zimbio.com