Command performance from Bouchard
LONDON -- It was her mother's love of British royalty, Eugenie Bouchard told the Wimbledon media this week, that resulted in her being named for a princess, her twin sister being named Beatrice for another princess and her brother being named, well, William.
The future king and his wife attended Wimbledon matches Wednesday. So did his cousin, Princess Beatrice. No word on her sister, Princess Eugenie. But Bouchard admitted she has developed her own princess-like tendencies, and no question she has attained regal status on the WTA Tour.
The 20-year-old Canadian reached her third straight Grand Slam semifinal Wednesday with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 9 Angelique Kerber. Bouchard will meet No. 3 Simona Halep, who eliminated last year's finalist, Sabine Lisicki, 6-4, 6-0.
In Thursday's other semifinal, 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the No. 6 seed, will play No. 23 Lucie Safarova, both of whom won their quarterfinals Tuesday.
In Bouchard and Halep, 22, fans will get a glimpse into the future of women's tennis with two of the brightest young stars in the game. They also will likely see a high-level affair with two of the toughest competitors on tour.
Halep was down 4-1 in the first set to Lisicki, and won the final 11 games of the match to reach her first Wimbledon semifinals. Halep has lost just 12 games in her past three matches. Coming into the tournament, the Romanian had just two career Wimbledon wins.
Bouchard, the 2012 junior Wimbledon champion, lost to the eventual champions at both the Australian (Li Na) and the French (Maria Sharapova), while Halep reached the Australian quarters and lost to Sharapova in the French final. The two have played once, at Indian Wells in March, with Halep winning 6-4 in the third on hard court.
"But tomorrow it's another day, so [it] will be different match," Halep said. "But I have confidence in myself. I believe that I can win, but I expect a tough match. She's a great player and she's playing really well, so I have just to enjoy it.
"I learned from that match that I have to keep fighting 'til the end. At that moment I won, so we'll see tomorrow what will happen."
Bouchard called her junior Wimbledon win "the proudest accomplishment in my career," and it propelled her into the pro ranks. But with a guarantee now to crack the top 10 with a ranking at least as high as No. 8, clearly more proud moments are ahead.
"[Last year] I won a [third-round] match on Centre Court," Bouchard said. "Even last year I felt that I belonged, so I don't feel like it's a surprise that I'm doing even better this year. But I'm definitely happy to have some success at Wimbledon. I love this tournament."
Bouchard emerges from a quarter of the draw that had both Serena Williams and Sharapova, but she did not have to play either. She lost just eight points on her first serve against Kerber on Wednesday and fought off seven of eight break-point chances.
"I'm excited to be in the semis," she said. "But, of course, I'm never satisfied, so I definitely want to go a step further or as far as I can. I played some great players when I lost in the [Australian and French] semis. You don't win every single time. But I'm going to look forward to try to play a little bit like I played today. I thought I was pretty solid out there and playing the right way on the grass, so that's going to be a key."
Named for a princess and compared to one of the most popular players on tour in Sharapova, Bouchard should not have a problem with adequate fan support. At 19, she already had a group of ardent Aussies who formed at the Australian Open, throwing her stuffed animals from the stands and calling themselves "Eugenie's Army." And at 20, she counts Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory" among her most passionate followers.
She admits that she has some princess-like characteristics.
"I mean, they're not horrible," Bouchard said. "But I can be moody in the morning. I'm not so much of a morning person. My fitness trainer carries my tennis bag around. But that's so I don't get tired because I want to save all my energy for the match."
"I mean, I can demand a few things once in a while," she said, "but I do it with love."