Tennis: History maker Bouchard to battle Sharapova

Tennis: History maker Bouchard to battle Sharapova

Tuesday, June 3, 2014 4:47 pm

Eugenie Bouchard became the first Canadian woman to reach the French Open semi-finals on Tuesday with a thrilling 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 7-5 win over Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.

It is only the third time that a Canadian has made the women’s semi-finals at any of the four majors after Carling Bassett reached the US Open semi-finals in 1984 and Bouchard herself went to the last-four at this year’s Australian Open.

The media-friendly Bouchard, who trailed badly in all three sets, has a chance to go one better now and will face Russia’s 2012 French champion Maria Sharapova for a place in Saturday’s final.

Eugenie Bouchard: makes history as Canada's first female qualifier for semi-final

Eugenie Bouchard: makes history as Canada’s first female qualifier for semi-final

Sharapova defeated Suarez Navarro’s doubles partner Garbine Muguruza 1-6, 7-5, 6-1 to reach her fourth straight French Open semi-final.

“I am just so happy right now, thanks to everyone, this is just completely unbelievable,” Bouchard told a raucous crowd, many with Canadian flags on court Suzanne Lenglen.

“I’m so happy to spend a few more days in Paris and look forward to the semi-final. It feels a bit like home here,” said the bilingual right hander who won her first WTA tournament at Nuremberg on the eve of Roland Garros.

Bouchard showed experience well beyond her 20 years as she came back from 5-2 down in the first set to draw level at 5-5 after saving a set point.

Suarez Navarro carried a 2014 record of 9 and 1 in tie-breaks into the decisive game but the Canadian carved out a 4-1 lead before converting her first set point to take the all important opening frame 7-6 (7/4) in one hour.

The Montreal resident broke immediately to start the second set as Suarez Navarro wobbled under the deep ground strokes Bouchard was burying in the corners.

However the Barcelona-based player again forged ahead 5-2 in the second set and this time Bouchard was unable to fight back with the Spaniard converting her second set point to take it 6-2 and force a decider.

Suarez Navarro again began the stronger to start the third as the nerves and the occasion got to both players.

However, Bouchard again charged back from 4-1 down to level the match and then creep 5-4 in front.

The Spaniard held a tense service game but Bouchard went back ahead 6-5 as victory came within her grasp.

She double faulted on her first match point but converted her third chance before sinking to her knees in celebration.

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