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Scalphunter Eugenie Bouchard powered on by Genie's Army in Australian Open

EUGENIE Bouchard has another cuddly toy and another grand slam scalp to add to her growing collection after knocking out Ana Ivanovic to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

The 19-year-old is playing in the main draw in Melbourne for the first time, and the main draw of a grand slam for only the fourth time, but has looked completely at home on the big stage.

She did not allow losing the first set against Serena Williams' conqueror to bother her and got stronger as the match went on to beat Ivanovic 5-7 7-5 6-2.

She was again roared on by 'Genie's Army', a group of Australians who have been supporting the Canadian in all her matches.

After the last four matches they have thrown her a cuddly toy onto court, and yesterday she received a wombat to go with her koala, kangaroo and kookaburra.

"I will create luggage space," she said. "It's worth it to take my wombat home."

Bouchard was named the WTA's newcomer of the year in 2013 and she went into this tournament seeded for the first time at a grand slam. But there is no sense of wide-eyed excitement for the teenager, who faces fourth seed and two-time Australian Open champion Li Na in the last four.

Bouchard said: "It's something I've been doing since I was five years old and working my whole life for and sacrificing a lot of things for. So it's not exactly a surprise. I always expect myself to do well."

Li Na stayed on course for another Australian Open final appearance with a comprehensive win over Flavia Pennetta.

The Chinese woman has twice been a beaten finalist in Melbourne, most recently losing to Victoria Azarenka 12 months ago.

Li was untroubled and powered past Pennetta 6-2 6-2.

Belfast Telegraph


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