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Tennis: Bouchard awaits Wimbledon coronation


Canada's Eugenie Bouchard attends a training session on day eleven of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 4, 2014, ahead of her women's singles final match against Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova on July 5. Photo - AFP

London: Eugenie Bouchard insists she will only be satisfied with her meteoric rise if she is crowned queen of Wimbledon in Saturday's final against former champion Petra Kvitova.

Bouchard's royalty-obsessed mother named the 20-year-old Canadian after the younger daughter of Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth II's second son, while her sister is named after Beatrice, Andrew's elder daughter.

Those regal connections have earned Bouchard plenty of intrigued enquires from the British media throughout her march to a first Grand Slam final and the 13th seed would dearly love a royal audience with the Duchess of Kent, who presents the Venus Rosewater dish awarded to the women's singles champion at the All England Club.

And if she does lift the trophy, the ice-cool Bouchard may finally let her emotions pour out.

After falling at the semifinal stage of both the Australian and French Opens this year, Bouchard could have been forgiven for embarking on a jubilant celebration following her 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 victory over world number three Simona Halep in Thursday's last four clash on Centre Court.

But like the royals idolised by her mother, Bouchard carries herself with a serene disposition and when she finally clinched victory on her sixth match point, she only briefly raised her arms and gave a small fist pump.

Bouchard, the junior Wimbledon champion only two years ago, holds herself to high standards and becoming the first Canadian to reach a Grand Slam final is nothing more than she expected, so she will save any real celebrations for if she wins the title this weekend.

"I'm proud of what I've accomplished, but the job is not over," she said.

"I started playing tennis at five years old and I was nine when I decided I wanted to do it professionally.
Since that age I dreamt of winning a Grand Slam.

"It's been a long time in the making, for it to finally come together, all the hard work, the talent I know I have, the effort I put in, for it to produce results on the match court.

"It's not just an overnight thing. I've been believing in myself more and more."

Shadow of Sharapova-Bouchard's breakthrough performance has recalled memories of Maria Sharapova, who rocked the tennis world by defeating Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final aged just 17 in 2004.

A decade later, the effervescent blonde seems set to inherit Sharapova's mantle as the most marketable
player of her generation.

Bouchard is happy to accept flattering comparisons with the five-time Grand Slam champion, but would prefer to be seen as more than a clone of the glamourous Russian.

"I see it as a compliment to be compared to someone like Sharapova who has won five slams," Bouchard said.

"She's a great champion so I see it in a positive light.

"But I'm also my own person, I don't want to be the next someone else. I want to be the first of me.

"I want to be my own individual person. I'll try to make my own history."

Another thing Bouchard appears has in common with Sharapova is her decision not to engage much with her fellow players.

While Bouchard hasn't gone out of her way to make friends because she thinks close ties with opponents would hinder her bid to reach the top — she admits to falling out with British star Laura Robson recently — Kvitova is a more popular figure among her peers.

And the Czech's rather cold comments about the Canadian hinted at an undercurrent of tension between the finalists.

"I have many friends on the tour. Of course I think it is possible," said Kvitova, who has dropped just one set en route to the final and defeated Lucie Safarova 7-6 (8/6), 6-1 in the last four.

"I'm glad that I have a friends here. I don't know her (Bouchard). I just know how she's playing, and that's it. We are not really talking to each other."

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