Canadian rising star Eugenie Bouchard (Player Profile) and former World no. 1 Venus Williams (Player Profile) both advanced to the quarterfinals in Tokyo with hard-fought wins over respective opponents, Jelena Jankovic (Player Profile) and Simona Halep (Player Profile) earlier today.
Bouchard upset sixth-seed Jankovic with a straight sets victory after a poor initial start in the match. Jelena held a 5-4 lead in the opening set but Bouchard rallied to win the next three games to steal the set. From then on the momentum had shifted in her favour as she closed out the match 7-5, 6-2 in 1 hour and 10 minutes. It was the world no. 46’s second top 10 win of the season.
“I wasn’t at my best in the first set – she was controlling the points more, and I wasn’t aggressive enough,” Bouchard said. “Nathalie told me to be more aggressive, which is my game. So I started to do that, and it worked out. I turned the match around from that point on, so it was helpful advice.”
Bouchard, who is making her debut at the tournament, believes her quarterfinal run this year helps build her confidence when facing high ranked opposition.
“That gave me a lot of confidence to play in the pros,” Bouchard said. “Playing week in, week out against the top players has made me a better player.”
Venus Williams also upset the 13th seeded Simona Halep as she rallied from a set deficit to beat the Romanian 4-6, 7-5, 6-3. While Halep played a consistent match, Williams has been able to find her rhythm this week and has picked up several impressive wins including a shocking upset over top seed Victoria Azarenka in the second round.
“It was very tough – she played so well, she played amazing,” Williams said in her on-court interview. “I don’t know how I was able to win today – I just wanted to stay in Japan longer and play for you guys!
“But I’m very happy to arrive in the quarterfinals. I’m taking it one match at a time and I like it.”
Williams will face Bouchard in the quarterfinals and while she has not studied the Canadian’s game, she believes that if she plays on a similar standard as she did against Halep, then she should succeed.
“You know, she is really nice, I do know that. Obviously she is playing well and I have to go out there and do a little more tomorrow of what I did today. I am looking forward to it and will try and play my best.”