Thursday was all about the women's bracket at the 2014 Wimbledon Championships, and the remaining competitors came to play.
Young upstart Eugenie Bouchard, currently the No. 13 player in the world, defeated Simona Halep, 7-6 (5), 6-2, to reach her first ever final in a Grand Slam. Following a tough first set, the Canadian routed Halep in the second to make a grand statement at the All England Club.
As for her opponent in the final, Petra Kvitova is in familiar territory after a straight-sets victory of her own. The 2011 Wimbledon winner continued her run by knocking off fellow Czech Republic player Lucie Safarova on Centre Court by a final of 7-6 (6), 6-1.
With the ladies' final officially set, here's a look at the results from Day 10 and a recap of the action from Wimbledon.
|No. 6 Petra Kvitova def. No. 23 Lucie Safarova||7-6 (6), 6-1|
|No. 13 Eugenie Bouchard def. No. 3 Simona Halep||7-6 (5), 6-2|
Day 10 Recap
It has been a year of firsts for Bouchard. She earned her first semifinals appearance at the Australian Open then became the first female player this year to reach three consecutive semifinals.
Now, she has finally cracked through the foundation and made it to her first final. While the tennis world might be in shock to see her playing in her maiden Slam final, Bouchard is far from surprised, via Wimbledon:
"I never say I'm surprised [by my achievements] because I put in a lot of hard work. It's been years in the making" - @geniebouchard— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 3, 2014
The young Canadian has been on a tear this season, but much like Grigor Dimitrov on the men's side, she was simply unable to reach a final. Despite a slow start against Halep that led to an eventual tiebreak win in the first set, she showed the same control that got her to this point with the 6-2 victory in the second.
Years ago, an upstart player by the name of Maria Sharapova captured the world's attention when she won the 2004 Wimbledon title as the No. 13 seed, per Wimbledon.com's live blog. Similarly, Bouchard came in as the No. 13 seed looking to surprise everyone at the All England Club.
She also made a bit of history with her accomplishment, as Wimbledon points out:
Then there's her opponent in Kvitova, who has played on the final day at Centre Court and captured the title before. Bouchard noted just how strong her upcoming match will be with the experienced 24-year-old:
Bouchard on facing Petra Kvitova in her 1st Slam final: "I'll have my toughest match yet. I'm really excited. I'm just going to go for it"— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 3, 2014
With Bouchard cruising in the final set, Kvitova dismantled Safarova on Thursday in similar fashion. After winning in a slightly longer tiebreak against the No. 23 seed, Kvitova crushed her in the second with a 6-1 win thanks to her blistering serve.
Though she has never advanced out of the semifinals in any other major, this will mark Kvitova's second final at Wimbledon. She spoke about her improved play on the grass courts, per Greg Garber of ESPN.com:
I just probably feel the grass. I just know that it suits me well and I can really play my best tennis on that. [...]
I don't have words to describe what I'm thinking right now. I know this feeling when you hold the trophy. I would like to win my second title.
The 2011 winner has been strong throughout the tournament, but showed perseverance in an emotional situation against a close friend. As both women enter the final after strikingly similar matches, the room for error will be minuscule.
One of the keys heading into the final for both competitors will be capturing the first set. ESPN Tennis shows just how difficult the two players have been after winning the opener:
Bouchard breaks to take 2-1 lead in 2nd; She is 14-1 at Slams after winning 1st set. Her only loss came at 2014 French Open.— ESPNTennis (@ESPNTennis) July 3, 2014
Both players, of course, secured another victory to add to those nearly flawless records, which will be put to the test during the weekend. With both women on the cusp of the title, every detail counts under the scrutiny of Centre Court.
Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.