LONDON: Eugenie Bouchard insists she will only be satisfied with her meteoric rise if she is crowned queen of Wimbledon in Saturday’s finals against former champion Petra Kvitova.
After falling at the semifinals stage of both the Australian and French Opens this year, Bouchard posted a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 victory over world number three Simona Halep in Thursday’s last four clash on Center Court.
Bouchard, the junior Wimbledon champion only two years ago, holds herself to high standards and becoming the first Canadian to reach a Grand Slam finals is nothing more than she expected, so she will save any real celebrations for if she wins the title this weekend.
“I’m waiting for a big moment to go nuts,” Bouchard said.
“Of course, achieving a lifelong dream like winning a slam is very exciting to me. But I feel like my job is not done here.
Bouchard’s breakthrough performance has recalled memories of Maria Sharapova, who rocked the tennis world by defeating Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final aged just 17 in 2004.
A decade later, the effervescent blonde seems set to inherit Sharapova’s mantle as the most marketable player of her generation.
Bouchard is happy to accept flattering comparisons with the five-time Grand Slam champion, but would prefer to be seen as more than a clone of the glamorous Russian.
“I see it as a compliment to be compared to someone like Sharapova who has won five slams,” Bouchard said.
“But I’m also my own person, I don’t want to be the next someone else. I want to be the first of me.
Standing in Bouchard’s way is the formidable figure of sixth seed Kvitova, who is back to her best after a barren period and dismissed her close friend and compatriot Lucie Safarova 7-6 (8/6), 6-1 in the semifinals.
Meanwhile, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, with 23 Grand Slam titles between them, face the rookie ambitions of Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov for a place in the Wimbledon finals on Friday (Saturday in Manila).
Federer has a 4-0 career lead over Raonic, the first Canadian man in the semifinals in 106 years.
Top seeded Djokovic was runner-up to Andy Murray 12 months ago and he takes a 3-1 lead over Dimitrov into their semifinals.
Dimitrov reached his first Grand Slam semifinals by defeating Murray in straight sets on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).