By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) - Eugenie Bouchard struck another blow for the new kids on the block when she overpowered Germany's Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-4 to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals on Wednesday.
Already seen as the golden girl of tennis, the 20-year-old Canadian looked like a grand slam champion in waiting with another irresistible barrage of attacking strokes.
A day after Australia's 19-year-old Nick Kyrgios fired a warning to the established order in men's tennis by taking down Rafael Nadal, Bouchard, a year older and far more established, packed too much firepower for the gritty Kerber.
"It was definitely a tough battle, I have played her a few times now and it has always been really tough," Bouchard, named after British royalty, said in a TV interview.
"I knew it wasn't over but I stuck in and managed to pull it off. I couldn't think ahead and had to stay in the moment and just tried to play my game."
From 3-3 in the first set, when she was in danger of dropping serve, Bouchard took a stranglehold with a flurry of winners against an opponent looking a little weary after her three-set victory over Maria Sharapova the previous day.
Tucking into Kerber's weak second serve like a lumberjack taking his axe to a pine, she broke in the next game and then twice more to march 4-1 ahead in the second set before a brief wobble allowed Kerber hope.
Ninth seed Kerber crept back into contention and was within a point of levelling at 5-5 before Bouchard nailed some winners to reach her third grand slam semi-final of the year.
Her next challenge will be defeating 22-year-old Simona Halep of Romania, whose rise up the rankings this year has been equally dramatic.
"I am excited; she is a very good player so I am definitely ready for another tough match," Bouchard, the first Canadian to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon, told the BBC.
"I am so pleased to reach the semi-finals again but I want to go one step further this time around."
(Editing by John O'Brien and David Goodman)