Bouchard brought back to earth by Kuznetsova

Eugenie Bouchard's hopes of a first WTA Premier title at the Madrid Open were ended at the quarter-final stage by the ruthless Svetlana Kuznetsova on Thursday.

The Canadian has been showing signs of a return to the sort of form that saw her reach the 2014 Wimbledon final but was unable to secure passage to the final four as Kuznetsova powered her way to a 6-4 6-0 triumph in the Spanish capital.

Doubles partner Kristina Mladenovic is next up for the world number nine, while Simona Halep coasted past Coco Vandeweghe 6-1 6-1 and will face Anastasija Sevastova - a 6-3 6-3 winner against Kiki Bertens - in the other semi-final.



At a media conference on Wednesday, Kuznetsova said the picture behind the scenes in Madrid was quite different to the one Bouchard painted of widespread support for her ahead of her second-round match with Maria Sharapova.

The 23-year-old progressed past another former world number one in Angelique Kerber to reach the quarter-finals, but Kuznetsova brought her crashing back down to earth in the final match of the day.

A rain delay in the second set did not halt the Russian's momentum as she swiftly secured a bagel upon the resumption of play to set up her match with the in-form Mladenovic.


Reigning champion Halep is the highest seed remaining in the competition and breezed past Coco Vandeweghe in just 59 minutes on Thursday.

After back-to-back three-setters against Roberta Vinci and Samantha Stosur, such a quick outing should have provided relief, but the Romanian feels grinding out results is making her stronger.

"In the last five weeks, I feel different - it's much better," said Halep. "When I finish a match like yesterday [against Stosur], where it was really tough, I don't feel tired.

"That makes me stronger and helps me to understand that it's much better to stay relaxed, not talking and doing other stuff on court."



With a 6-4 6-4 victory over wildcard Sorana Cirstea, Mladenovic made into her second Premier Mandatory semi-final from her last three in 2017.

The French 23-year-old made the final four at Indian Wells, with a first WTA title in St Petersburg and a runner-up finish in Stuttgart making for a highly successful season.

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