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Bouchard blasts into Sydney semifinals

Eugenie Bouchard reached her first WTA semifinal in almost a year after bossing Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova off the court in a commanding quarterfinal performance.
11 January 2017, by Matt Trollope

Eugenie Bouchard has stormed into the Apia International Sydney semifinals after a 6-2 6-3 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

The Canadian showed little discomfort in the extreme heat, sealing victory in one hour and 16 minutes.

“It’s a good step. You know, I don’t want to get too happy after a win or too sad after a loss, so, for me, it’s just a good step in the right direction. I know there is a long way to go to achieve what I want,” she said.

“To match up against solid players like I have this week, it’s a very tough tournament here. So I’m proud of that, for sure.”

She moves through to a semifinal against sixth seed Johanna Konta, who saw off Russian young gun Daria Kasatkina.

The pair faced off at Wimbledon six months ago in their only prior meeting; Bouchard won that high-quality match in three sets en route to the third round.

“(Remembering that match) will remind me that it’s going to be a huge battle. I won that match, but it was really, really tough. I’m not going in thinking, Oh, yeah, I won the last one,” Bouchard said.

“I barely got through the last one. She’s a top-10 player. She’s playing her best tennis right now. I know she will be pretty aggressive, I think. She hits a big ball.

“I will be ready for that and try and play some good tennis. Just be grateful for another day in Sydney.”

Bouchard ensured she would extend her stay with a solid display of controlled aggression at Ken Rosewall Arena.

Pavlyuchenkova came into the match having straight-setted Grand Slam champions Sam Stosur and Svetlana Kuznetsova in her previous two rounds in Sydney.

But she was constantly on the run in the face of Bouchard’s baseline onslaught; the Canadian’s depth and angles proved a winning combination.

Bouchard didn’t drop serve at any stage during the match; after breaking the Russian in the sixth and eighth games to snare the first set, she broke again for a 3-1 lead in the second set and never looked back.

Currently ranked 49th, this is Bouchard’s best run at a WTA tournament since she progressed to the final in Kuala Lumpur in February 2016.

She peaked at world No.5 in October 2014 during a season in which she reached the Wimbledon final and the Australian and French Open semis.

“I’m not really comparing to a couple years ago, because, to me, first of all, that’s the past. I’m tired of thinking about 2014. I’m tired of being asked about 2014,” Bouchard said.

“Also, I don’t want to be as good as that, because that was already, gosh, three years ago now, so I need to be better than that. Everyone improves every single year. So being that good is not even good enough for today.

“I’m just trying to become a better player in 2017, and that’s all.”