MELBOURNE, Australia — Eugenie Bouchard has reached the semifinals in her first trip to the Australian Open, beating 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, on Tuesday to set up a showdown with fourth-seeded Li Na.
The result means two-time Australian Open finalist Li, who beat Flavia Pennetta, 6-2, 6-2, in an earlier quarterfinal match featuring two women who'll turn 32 next month, will have to face a teenager for the third time in the tournament.
The 19-year-old Bouchard, the first Canadian to reach the Australian Open semifinals, played with composure against former No. 1-ranked Ivanovic, who started the season with a title at Auckland, New Zealand, and produced a major upset to eliminate top-ranked Serena Williams in the fourth round here.
Bouchard went to the net 24 times and won 19 of those points. She broke Ivanovic's serve seven times, including the last game, and had to sit through a lengthy timeout when she trailed, 4-3, in the second set while her opponent received treatment.
Bouchard is playing only her fourth Grand Slam tournament. She lost in the second rounds at the French Open and U.S. Open last year and reached the third round at Wimbledon, the only previous major where she managed consecutive victories. The second of those was against Ivanovic, in straight sets, in their only previous meeting.
Li, who lost to Victoria Azarenka in the final last year and to Kim Clijsters in 2011, has reached the semifinals four times in the last five years. Azarenka, the two-time defending champion, is in the other half of the draw.
Li, from China, won her only previous match against Bouchard in straight sets at Montreal in 2012.
"We had a tough battle last time, and I think I didn't have a lot of experience back then," Bouchard said. "This time I think I'll be ready."
Li beat two 16-year-olds in the opening rounds and had to save a match point against Lucie Safarova in the third round. Against No. 28 Pennetta, she was relentless, keeping the mistakes down while going for her winners.
"After saving the match point, I think I got a lot of confidence," Li said of her close call in the third round. "Even more belief in myself."
Li lost her serve only once, while leading, 5-0, in the opening set, and finished off the 67-minute match with an easy forehand to the open court.
Later Tuesday, No. 3 David Ferrer was to play No. 7 Tomas Berdych in the first men's quarterfinal. In a night match on Rod Laver Arena, Novak Djokovic continues his quest for a fourth consecutive Australian Open title with a quarterfinal match against No. 8 Stanislas Wawrinka.
The other half of the men's draw plays its quarterfinal matches Wednesday when top-ranked Rafael Nadal takes on Grigor Dimitrov and Wimbledon champion Andy Murray plays 17-time Grand Slam tournament champion Roger Federer.
A four-time Australian Open champion, Federer was never threatened in beating 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.
Nadal beat Kei Nishikori, 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-6 (3), though he was broken twice in the third set, getting a time violation from chair umpire Evanthia Asderaki in one of the games.
Dimitrov reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam event for the first time with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Roberto Bautista Agut.
Murray ended the run of Stephane Robert, wasting match points in the third set and smashing his racket after the tiebreaker before advancing, 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 (6), 6-2.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times