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Bouchard aims to make up for semi-final heartache

AFP
Canada's Eugenie Bouchard returns to Germany's Angelique Kerber during their quarter-final match at Wimbledon on July 2, 2014
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London (AFP) - Rising Canadian star Eugenie Bouchard has vowed to make amends for her Grand Slam semi-final heartache by finally reaching her first major final at Wimbledon.

Bouchard, the 13th seed, will make her maiden last four appearance at the All England Club on Thursday after cruising to a 6-3, 6-4 win over Germany's Angelique Kerber in Wednesday's quarter-final.

The 20-year-old plays world number three Simona Halep, who defeated Sabine Lisicki 6-4, 6-0 in the other quarter-final, for a place in Saturday's final and is determined to erase the bitter memories of her last-four losses in the Australian and French Opens this year.

Bouchard, the 2012 junior Wimbledon champion, was beaten by Li Na in Melbourne and Maria Sharapova at Roland Garros.

"I'm excited to be in the semis. But, of course, I'm never satisfied, so I definitely want to go a step further," she said.

"I played some great players when I lost in the semis and you don't win every single time. But I'm going to look forward to playing a little bit like I played today.

"I was pretty solid out there and playing the right way on the grass. So that's going to be a key."

Bouchard has played Halep just once -- losing in three sets at Indian Wells earlier this year -- and she is confident she has learnt enough from that defeat to put the record straight.

"We had a good match at Indian Wells. I felt like I had chances, it was really close," she said.

"I learnt a little bit about her game. She's playing really well and can change direction really well on the court.

"So I'm going to be ready for that and really just try to go for it and take my chances."

- Unfinished business -

Halep also has unfinished business at the majors after losing to Sharapova in the French Open final last month.

"Now I have more experience and more confidence in myself because it's the second time I've got to this stage," she said.

"I like grass, but it was difficult at the beginning of the tournament because I didn't have the timing. Then match by match and day to day I've got better."

In the other semi-final, Petra Kvitova believes her experience of winnig the Wimbledon title three years ago could be the decisive factor when she faces fellow Czech Lucie Safarova.

Sixth seed Kvitova is the only former Grand Slam winner left in the women's draw and that could a crucial advantage at the business end of the tournament.

Thursday's clash with Safarova will mark Kvitova's third appearance in the Wimbledon semi-finals and her fifth last-four match at the majors, while in contrast her opponent will be breaking new ground as she plays in her first Grand Slam last-four tie.

It is an advantage 2011 Wimbledon champion Kvitova hopes to exploit and she said: "Of course it can help me that I will know what I'm doing out there, how nervous I will be, these things. It's not a very typical experience (to be in a semi-final).

"Of course, to be in a semi-final of Wimbledon is always great for me. Especially when I won it here, I have great memories.

"It's feeling great. I mean, these feelings are always very emotional for me."

Kvitova and Safarova's advances to the semi-finals means there are two Czech women in the last four at a Grand Slam for the first time since Hana Mandlikova and Helena Sukova at the 1986 French Open.

The pair, both left-handers, are good pals, but having to put aside friendships while on court has become a familiar feeling for Kvitova at this year's tournament.

"It's going to be my third match against Czech girl actually during the Wimbledon, which is unusual," Kvitova said.

"We played last time in Eastbourne. It was big fight until the end. I'm expecting a tough battle again."

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