MELBOURNE, Australia – Eugenie Bouchard has reached the semifinals in her first trip to the Australian Open, beating 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 Tuesday in Australia to set up a showdown with fourth-seeded Li Na.
It means two-time Australian Open finalist Li, who beat Flavia Pennetta 6-2, 6-2 in an earlier quarterfinal featuring two women who’ll turn 32 next month, will have to face a teenager for the third time in the tournament.
The 19-year-old Bouchard, the first Canadian to reach the Australian Open semifinals, played with composure against former No. 1-ranked Ivanovic, who started the season with a title at Auckland, New Zealand, and produced a major upset to eliminate top-ranked Serena Williams in the fourth round here.
Bouchard went to the net 24 times and won 19 of those points. She broke Ivanovic’s serve seven times, including the last game, and had to sit through a lengthy time out when she was trailing 4-3 in the second set while her opponent received treatment.
The WTA Tour’s “Newcomer of the Year” in 2013, Bouchard is playing just her fourth Grand Slam tournament, having lost in the second rounds at the French Open and U.S. Open last year and reached the third round at Wimbledon – the only previous major where she’d managed back-to-back victories. The second of those was against Ivanovic, in straight sets in their only meeting.
Bouchard, who is from Montreal, has a growing group of supporters at Melbourne Park. After each match, fans have presented her with a stuffed, fluffy Australian animal – a kangaroo, a kookaburra and a wombat.
Li is also a crowd favorite in Australia, where she lost the finals last year to Victoria Azarenka and in 2011 to Kim Clijsters. Two-time defending champion Azarenka is in the other half of the draw.