• Sat
  • Aug 30, 2014
  • Updated: 8:12am
SportTennis
Wimbledon

Where no Canadian has ventured before

Eugenie Bouchard makes it to Wimbledon quarter-finals, a first for her country, while Wozniacki becomes Zahlavova Strycova's latest scalp

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 July, 2014, 12:39am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 July, 2014, 12:39am

Eugenie Bouchard became the first Canadian to reach the quarter-finals of Wimbledon with a 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 win over Serena Williams' conqueror Alize Cornet yesterday.

Over the years, Canadians Carling Bassett-Seguso, Patricia Hy-Boulais and Daniel Nestor all made the second week of the grass court major, but none of them ever managed to go this far.

The 13th seed looked like she would be stretched into a third set when she trailed 4-2 in the second, but the woman tipped as a future grand slam champion displayed her battling instincts as she fought back to level at 5-5.

I didn't want to play again because I felt like it's a little bit unfair. Everything was kind of against me
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova

A backhand long on match point sealed the 20-year-old a quarter-final date with either French Open winner Maria Sharapova or German ninth seed Angelique Kerber.

Earlier, Wimbledon giantkiller Barbora Zahlavova Strycova admitted she wanted to quit the sport during a six-month drugs ban, which she blasted as "unfair" following her victory over Caroline Wozniacki.

The 28-year-old Czech reached her first grand slam quarter-final with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over former world No 1 Wozniacki, which followed her third round defeat of second seed and Australian Open champion Li Na.

Her career went into freefall when she tested positive for banned stimulant sibutramine at the 2012 Luxembourg Open and was banned for six months from October 2012 until April last year.

"I didn't want to play again because I felt like it's a little bit unfair. Everything was kind of against me," said the Czech, who made the quarter-finals at a grand slam for the first time at the 32nd time of asking.

"In the first two months, I didn't want to come back. Then I missed it. It was tough, but… it also brings me some positive things. I am seeing the sport a bit different now. And here I am."

In the men's, Japan's Kei Nishikori reached the last 16 for the first time and said working with former world No 2 Michael Chang was paying dividends.

Nishikori needed only four games to complete a 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 defeat of Italian Simone Bolelli after their third round match had been halted by bad light on Saturday.

The 24-year-old 10th seed is enjoying the most consistent year of his career, reaching the last 16 of the Australian Open and the Madrid Masters final as well as claiming two ATP titles.

He said it was no coincidence that his form had improved after employing former French Open champion Chang: "Already it's six or seven months and yeah, I love how he coaches me. My tennis is also changing. You see my ranking is much higher."

Chang, born to Taiwanese parents, became a standard bearer for Asian tennis after winning the French Open in 1989.

Nishikori, now the new darling of Asian fans, is similar to Chang in physique and style and believes that he is now beginning to learn from the American's famed mental toughness.

"It's not because we are Asian, but we are kind of the same in the we play," he said. "He knows how I should play. But maybe also mentally he can understand a little more the Japanese way.

"He's teaching me to be mentally strong. He's very positive."

Agence France-Presse, Reuters

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