Wimbledon - 'New Sharapova' Bouchard has world buzzing

Eugenie Bouchard has been hailed the tennis revelation of 2014 after reaching the semi-finals in Australia and France - and now the final of Wimbledon.

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Wimbledon - 'New Sharapova' Bouchard has world buzzing
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Eugenie Bouchard (AFP)

A 7-6(5) 6-2 defeat of third-seed Simona Halep means she is through to Saturday's Wimbledon final - a mere two years after she won the junior tournament at the same venue.

It has been an unusual Wimbledon tournament on the women's side, with so many seeds crashing out early, leaving the door open for Bouchard to cruise through the draw without dropping a set.

And fortune has played a part in places - Halep was looking likely to prove a sterner test before the fourth game of the first set, when she turned her left ankle.

That is not to say Bouchard's task has been easy. The 13th seed has faced other seeded players from the third round onwards; and it has taken an impressive amount of determination for her to progress.

WHAT HALEP SAID

“After losing a set, it’s really tough to say, ‘Let’s play two more to win with two injuries.' I lost my energy because I played many matches and after the French Open there was a really short time to recover. But it’s my best result at Wimbledon, so I cannot be sad now.”

WHAT BOUCHARD SAID

"This is what I’ve worked for, but it’s not a surprise to me. I expect good results like this. It’s a step in the right direction. I get to play in the final. I still have another match so it’s not a full celebration yet. I would never say I was surprised because I have put in a lot of hard work in and it has been a long time in the making. I am always wanting to better myself and I am focused."

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EUROSPORT'S VIEW

Some may have been slightly taken aback by her apparently meteoric rise to the top, but Bouchard isn't in the least bit overwhelmed. She may be Canada's first Slam singles finalist but she is taking it all in her stride with a confidence that is refreshing in one so young - and particularly a young woman, who may be more likely to leave herself open to the charge of "cockiness" or "arrogance" from some quarters. Bouchard is neither. She has faith in herself and knows how much work she has put in over the years - that is what it takes to be an incredibly successful athlete. Three Slam semi-finals out of three in 2014 is testament to that.

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As for her the 'New Sharapova' tag? It's no accident. Bouchard has been playing that particular game for years, using social media brilliantly and taking every chance off the court just as she does on it. Sharapova herself picked Bouchard out to star alongside her in an advertising campaign just a few months ago, and for good reason: the new breed of fans attracted by Bouchard's fresh style and striking looks are of a different generation to those who still follow the willowy Russian. Make no mistake: Bouchard is just as talented and ambitious off the court as she is on it - it's hard to see anything that can stop her from becoming the next superstar of women's sport.

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WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Petra Kvitova is likely to prove a tough obstacle for Bouchard. The former champion knows what it takes to win Grand Slams and she has solid years of experience behind her, as well as a crushing 7-6(1) 6-1 defeat of compatriot Lucie Safarova in their semi-final. After that, it is easy to imagine the Bouchard/Halep rivalry being renewed at multiple Slams to come. The prospect is an exciting one.

WHAT THE MEDIA SAID

Simon Barnes (The Times): Bouchard has no hopes of being a grand-slam singles champion, but that’s because she’s not in the hoping business. She will be deeply surprised if it doesn’t happen, if not this time, some time soon. Being in the Wimbledon final: It’s not like it’s a surprise. I expect good results like this.” Does she sound cocky? She really isn’t. She’s just self-confident to a rather terrifying degree. It’s not entitlement, because in her view big things come as a reward for hard work and the series of choices that she has made: never the small gratifications now, eyes always on the great prizes farther down the line.

Jonathan Liew, (The Daily Telegraph): Eugenie Bouchard is often described as a younger version of Maria Sharapova, a comparison that is by parts entirely superficial and completely spot on. After the 20-year-old reached her first Wimbledon final playing the sort of nerveless, clinical tennis that Sharapova made her trademark a decade ago, the parallel is becomingly increasingly hard to ignore.She is a pure tennis machine, and now she is poised to join Sharapova as one of the game’s most marketable stars. Last week she signed a deal to become the face of Coca-Cola in Canada, and now she has a grand slam final to back up the hype.

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