Thursday, 3 July 2014

Canada Day extended

Canada Day was celebrated on 1 July, and in London it was eighth seed Milos Raonic who waved the maple leaf flag proudly on his way to victory over Nishikori in the fourth round.  However, the real Canuck craziness was let loose the following day when both Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard recorded terrific quarter final successes on the grass.

Raonic served even better than his opponent, Nick Kyrgios, had done the previous day against Nadal, on his way to providing one of the two semi finalists for Canada.  For Kyrgios the end was not where many may have hoped, but it was in fact the reality check needed, and at the right time.  His future seems assured, but there is much development to go before occasional upsets over top players become a more regular thing.

Raonic, though, has proven that top ten is his true place of residence.  If he can defeat Roger Federer in the semi final, the weight of expectation will be shifted squarely onto his broad shoulders, and maybe he can join Wawrinka as a major winner from outside the greedy four who have kept Grand Slam title winning to themselves for so long.  If Raonic serves up to the standard shown in his quarter final, Federer will need to draw on all his powers to break through.  Similarly, Federer displayed a consistency and variety after dropping the opening set against his countryman that would trouble anyone left on the draw, maybe with the exception of Djokovic.

The second Canadian through to the semis has made a habit of featuring at this stage of the Grand Slam tournaments in 2014, and Genie Bouchard will be hoping that her stellar form carries her into the first final at this level in her fledgling but exciting career.  The defeat of Angelique Kerber, Sharapova's vanquisher, was decisive and worthy of someone with far more experience and credits on this surface. This is only Genie's sixth main draw appearance at Grand Slam level, including making the third round at Wimbledon last year.  She did win the Girls title in 2012, though, so she knows how to accept a winners trophy at the home of tennis.

In the way of a final for Canada's favourite is Simona Halep, at 3, the highest ranked player remaining, and the ultra impressive finalist from Roland Garros less than a month ago.  Hardly a word has been spoken about Simona this tournament - more has been written about the defeats of those more favoured to fare well at the event.  Still she stays, slaying her rivals with ruthless precision, last years runner up Sabine Lisicki, the latest to suffer, 6-4 6-0.

However, for the moment it is all about Canada, and in Ottawa legislation is probably being prepared as we speak to declare a public holiday in honour of two of its finest modern day sports people.

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