Given the completely unexpected nature of the 2014 Australian Open women’s draw, it’s only fitting that the semifinal battle pits one of the sport’s most overlooked champions against a ground-breaking Canadian whom few saw coming before the fortnight began.
Two-time Australian Open finalist Li Na cruised past Flavia Pennetta in straight sets on Tuesday, setting up an unexpected semifinal showdown with Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in Melbourne on Thursday. Bouchard made history by shocking Ana Ivanovic to become the first-ever Canuck to reach the semifinals.
With that three-set triumph now behind her, she looks to further her unexpected run with a triumph over Li, who is searching for that elusive Australian Open title to complement her 2011 French Open triumph. Expected or not, the matchup is an intriguing confrontation between a largely overlooked champion who is looking to raise her already impressive resume and a rising young star who is poised to put her stamp on the game.
While the outcome of their tussle remains to be seen, there’s little doubt that the winner will be a fan favorite to win what has become an unpredictable Australian Open on the women’s side.