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How The Match Was Won: Eugenie Bouchard v Simona Halep

Eugenie Bouchard extends for a backhand on Centre Court
by Ron Atkin
Thursday 3 July 2014

The key components of Eugenie Bouchard’s 7-6(5), 6-2 semi-final victory over Simona Halep

 
Mental resilience: Bouchard gives the strong impression that she wants success more than her opponent, more even than anyone else in the tournament, because as she says, “That’s what it takes”. This is allied to her seemingly boundless confidence in her own ability.
 
So very mature: At the age of just 20 and with the pressure of representing a country which has not produced a top female tennis player  for many years Bouchard has shown excellence at handling expectations off the court and in key matches such as this.
 
The aggression: as her opponents tend to agree without exception, it is Bouchard’s ability to step in and take the ball early, and therefore take the battle to them, which is a key element in her doing so well this year, especially in the Grand Slams with semi-finals at the Australian and French Opens and now the Wimbledon final.
 
The puncher: her most effective shot is the forehand, delivered with a round arm swing and from a crouch reminiscent of a boxer’s stance.
 
And a little bit of luck: which is what everyone is grateful for. With Halep labouring because of injury, the Romanian still led 4-2 in the first set tie-break and it would have been 5-2 had Bouchard not benefitted from  the luckiest of net cords.

Bouchard’s path to the final

First round: defeated Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 7-5, 7-5 in one hour and 43 minutes.

This was a dangerous opening task against the flat-hitting 31-year-old Slovak. It may be 12 years since Hantuchova reached her sole Wimbledon quarter-final but she has provided Bouchard with arguably her toughest match of the tournament so far.

Second round: defeated Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) 7-5, 6-1 in one hour and six minutes.

While the 1.69m Spaniard is more at home on the slower clay, she held her own against Bouchard early on, before the Canadian pulled away with it in the second. She hit an impressive 24 winners to just eight from her opponent.

Third round: defeated No.20 seed Andrea Petkovic (GER) 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 31 minutes.

This one was more even than the scoreline might suggest but Petkovic on possibly her weakest surface was always going to struggle against Bouchard’s pace of shot on the quick green turf. Thirty winners to 14 unforced errors were again telling for Bouchard.

Fourth round: defeated No.25 seed Alize Cornet (FRA) 7-6(5), 7-5 in one hour and 36 minutes.

The flashy Frenchwoman did Bouchard a huge favour in putting out five-time champion and top seed Serena Williams in the previous round. Much like Kerber’s letdown after beating Sharapova, Cornet was unable to back up the upset against the No.13 seed.

Quarter-final: defeated No.9 seed Angelique Kerber (GER) 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 12 minutes.

Semi-final: defeated No.3 seed Simona Halep (ROU) 7-6(5), 6-2

Just as she had done in her five previous matches, Bouchard won this one in straight sets in her habitual aggressive fashion against an opponent who was unfortunate enough to suffer a twisted ankle after only 12 minutes’ play.

A greater number of unforced errors than usual (15) by Bouchard helped Halep to extend the first set into a tie-break but as the Romanian flagged in the second set on the hottest day of the tournament so far Bouchard blossomed and only suffered a slight stutter when she missed five points, which helped to tip her unforced errors total to 23, as opposed to 20 winners.

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