Australian Open: Teenager Bouchard sets up semi-final with Li

Melbourne, Jan 21 (IANS): Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard beat No.14 seed and former World No.1 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia 5-7, 7-5, 6-2, and set up her career's first Grand Slam semi-final against two-time runner-up Li Na of China at the Australian Open tennis here Tuesday.

Bouchard came from behind to beat 2008 French Open champion Ivanoic in just under two and a half hours and became the first Canadian to reach Australian Open semis, reports Xinhua.

"We had a tough match, she was playing well at times," said Bouchard. "When she did, there was not much I could do. I kept fighting, played aggressive and stepped it up in the second and third sets."

"The most important thing is to enjoy it out there and that's what I've been doing. I tried to stay calm and go for my short, that's when I play my best," added the 19-year-old.

Bouchard, seeded 30, is the second Canadian ever to compete in a Grand Slam singles semis. The last Canadian to go to the semis at a major was Carling Bassett at the 1984 US Open.

Bouchard will next play against No.4 seed and 2011 French Open champion Li Na, who's almost 12 years elder than the Canadian.

"I played Li Na in Montreal in 2012, we had a tough battle but I was not so experienced back then," said Bouchard. "This time I'll be ready. She won't give me many chances, so I'll have to take any that I get."

Two-time runner-up and fourth seed Li beat Italian Flavia Pennetta with an impressive 6-2, 6-2 victory.

Li was rarely troubled in the one-sided match, completely outclassing her opponent in 67 minutes to reach the final four of the Australian Open after last year's final loss to Victoria Azarenka, reports Xinhua.

Li, the fourth seed, broke Pennetta in the first game of the match, following up with two more to lead the first set 5-0. The Italian, who stunned No.9 seed Angelique Kerber in the fourth round, broke back in the sixth game but Li still managed to take the set 6-2.

Then Li took 32 minutes to win the one-sided second set 6-2 by breaking Pennetta another two times.

"I know Pennetta was a tough player because I played her four times before. Every time was like tough," said Li. "I don't know what happened today. Maybe because I try to prepare for the match before I come to the court."

Li and Pennetta, who is a day older than the Chinese, tied 2-2 in their previous four meetings. Pennetta defeated Li 6-2, 7-6 (7- 4) in their last meeting in Sydney in 2010.

Pennetta has played the best tennis of her career since returning last year from a wrist injury, which caused her ranking to drop as low as to No.166. Back to the court from injury, the Italian reached her first Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open and then her first quarter-finals at the Australian Open.

The absence of top seed Serena Williams opens the draw for Li. Williams was defeated by Ivanovic in Sunday's fourth round.

Although Li claimed her only major title to date three years ago at the French Open, it is at Melbourne Park where she has performed most consistently at Grand Slam level.

She lost the 2011 and 2013 finals to Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka and also reached the Australian Open semis in 2010.


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Title: Australian Open: Teenager Bouchard sets up semi-final with Li

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