The No.13 seed edged the first set and then reeled off the last four games of the match to take it 7-6(5), 7-5 for a place in her third Grand Slam quarter-final of the year; moreover, she has yet to lose a set.
“We were really battling and we had a tough tie-break. I’m proud that I stayed in it. Even though I was playing catch-up, I always felt right there, trying to put pressure on all the time. “When I was down in the second set I had full belief and confidence in myself that I wasn’t out. It wasn’t over. I stepped up on the important moments. That’s definitely the most physical match I’ve played this tournament. I really fought to the end. “I’ve learned a lot this year since Australia,” she said. “The main thing is the confidence I’ve added since the beginning of the year. I believe in myself and I’ve proved to myself I can play on the big stage. I’ve played on centre courts, most of the Slams, big moments, big matches. I’m proud of the way I can handle it.” The match began in warm and cloudy conditions but was suspended for 35 minutes after a cloudburst on serve at 3-2. Once the Centre Court roof had done its work (“I follow the roof on Twitter – I hope he’s proud of how I played,” said Bouchard), the first set was nip and tuck with neither giving crucial ground before the tie-break. But the Frenchwoman will wish she had done more with the three break point chances she held, especially as she delivered far fewer errors than her opponent – a natural consequence of Bouchard’s attacking game. The 20-year-old, four years the younger but steely and assured, clinched the breaker with an ace for set point followed by a power return which Cornet put in the net. Yet it was Cornet – the French No.1 since the retirement last summer of reigning Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli – who appeared the more confident at the start of the second, breaking for 4-2. But mistakes crept into her game, and her repeated failed challenges only lent her a flailing air. She deserved better after her wonderful victory over Williams, which feels like such an important landmark in her rise back up the rankings – having reached No.11 in February 2009, she lost so many matches in the next two years that she repeatedly thought about quitting altogether as her ranking plummeted below 100.