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Genie and her army want to go further and do better

January 23, 2014 14:14 IST

Genie and her army want to go further and do better

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Eugenie Bouchard's Australian Open semi-final defeat at the hands of Chinese veteran Li Na would only provide her with a further springboard to greater success.

The promising 19-year-old was halted by Li with 6-2, 6-4 defeat. Though the battle lasted only 90 minutes but the young Canadian impressed with her aggressive style of tennis. It won her a boisterous fan club, who labelled themselves 'Genie's Army' before she met Li, who was playing near the top of her game.


Image: Eugenie Bouchard of Canada serves
Photographs: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

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Genie Army consists of a dozen boisterous Aussies devoted to Bouchard. Despite any connection to Canada they have become Bouchard's unofficial cheerleaders and composed chants for her.

The teen sensation in turn has shown that she has the skills to mix it with the world's best.

"I wouldn't say I exceeded my expectations ...I feel like I belong in the top levels of the game," she asserted in a cool, clinical fashion in stark contrast to the mindset evident amongst many of her peers.


Image: Supporters of Eugenie Bouchard
Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters

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Members of the squad have danced and serenaded their way into an unmistakable grandstand presence during the Montreal teen's impressive run at the Australian Open.

"The crowd here has been amazing, especially the Genie Army," Bouchard said on Tuesday during an on-court interview after beating Ana Ivanovic.

"To me it's not a surprise (to reach the semi-finals). I've been working hard my whole life to do this, play at Grand Slams and do well.

"It's not an overnight thing and it's not a surprise to me.

"I'm never satisfied with losing. I'm always disappointed. I always want to go further and do better."


Image: Genie Army fans
Photographs: Eugenie Bouchard/Twitter

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Her confidence that she can do better, and Li said immediately after the semi-final she thought her teen opponent could reach number one in the world, has been highlighted by an impressive 12 months.

A former junior Wimbledon champion, Bouchard was ranked 147th in the world at last year's Australian Open and did not make it out of qualifying, losing to Russia's Daria Garvilova, who was ranked 78-places lower.


Image: Supporters of Eugenie Bouchard of Canada
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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She then made steady progress up the rankings and soon cracked the top-50 after reaching the semi-finals at Quebec City last September.

She romped through against players ranked lower than her before she beat 14th-seed Ana Ivanovic in the quarter-finals.

"I felt I was getting better as the matches went on, which is a good thing," Bouchard added.

"I want to build on that and practice and keep raising my level. For sure I'll walk away with confidence."

It was not the only thing she will walk away with.


Image: Bernard Tomic of Australia and Milos Raonic of Canada supports Eugenie Bouchard
Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters

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Bouchard will be ranked inside the top-20 at the conclusion of the tournament and will have doubled her career earnings with the $540,000 payday by reaching the semi-finals.

She also have five cuddly toys to pack into her bags, gifts from Genie's Army, with the final one an emu named "Sheila" that she received on Thursday.


Image: Eugenie Bouchard
Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters

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And possibly most important for a teenage girl who admitted to having a crush on pop singer Justin Bieber, he now knows who she is after he tweeted a 'good luck' message before the semi-final.

"I was excited," she said with a smile when asked about the tweet from her compatriot before her mind went back to her 'job'.

"It's exciting to be here, but at the same time I want to do better and do more. So it's just kind of like my job.

"I'm just going to go back to the practice courts and keep working hard.

"I'm happy with how I've played. I feel I've been playing well and improving through the tournament.

"It's just a process. I learned a lot last year. I've slowly been making my way up. I don't want to stop here."


Image: Eugenie Bouchard
Photographs: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

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