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Bouchard, Halep reserve spots in Wimbledon semifinals

AFP-JIJI, Reuters

Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard reached her first Wimbledon semifinal and ensured a move into the world top 10 by beating Germany’s Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday.

Victory also meant that the 20-year-old has reached the last four of all three Grand Slams in 2014.

The blonde Canadian 13th seed had already defeated the ninth-seeded Kerber at the French Open last month.

And she was rarely threatened on Wednesday on Court One where Kerber, a semifinalist in 2012, was still feeling the effects of her marathon fourth-round win over Maria Sharapova 24 hours earlier.

Bouchard, who will rise to No. 8 in the world next week to equal the record high ranking achieved by a Canadian, will face third seed Simona Halep, who eliminated Sabine Lisicki, last year’s runnerup, on Thursday for a place in the final.

“It was definitely a tough battle, I’ve played her a few times and it’s always been tough, so I knew it wasn’t over. “I tried to keep fighting and thankfully I did it in the end,” said Bouchard.

“I’ve been working hard to stay mentally in the moment. I made a few bad errors but I came up with enough winners at the right time.”

Bouchard has played Halep just once — losing in three sets at Indian Wells earlier this year.

“Halep is a very good player, third in the world. I’m definitely excited to be in the semifinals and I want to go one step further,” she said.

The Canadian swept through the first set on a sun-kissed Court One hitting a confident 13 winners to the German left-hander’s four.

She then raced to a 4-1 lead in the second set before the 26-year-old Kerber rallied back to trail 4-5.

Kerber had two break points in the 10th game which Bouchard saved before victory was sealed when the German went wide with a crosscourt forehand.

The former Wimbledon junior champion finished the 72-minute encounter with four aces and 29 winners in a testament to her offensive and positive approach to her career.

Halep, beaten finalist at last month’s French Open, has climbed to third in the rankings this year by virtue of career-best results at consecutive Grand Slams and was in no mood to ease up against the 19th-seeded German.

The Romanian had shrugged off a shoulder injury in her fourth-round victory over Yaroslava Shvedova on Tuesday with no apparent ill effects and went on the attack with some big serves and ferocious ground strokes to race into a 4-1 lead.

But Halep showed her mettle to pull back to 4-4. Lisicki seemed to sense she had missed a golden opportunity, allowing Halep to give her the runaround from the baseline and reel off the next eight games to seal a place in the last four.