Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon 2014 Files: Eugenie Bouchard and Simona Halep are the two form players of the year, the ice cool cat against the wild west gunslinger. And it’s too close to call

In their quarter-finals, both had a quickest serve of 107mph. That’s a weapon

Eugenie Bouchard is one cool cat. This is a 20-year-old with ice in her veins and she has shown us all over the last week and a half that she is going to be a power in the women’s game for a time to come.

Now don’t hurry to write off Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova – they will be back and booming come the US Open, I’m sure – and then still going strong in the other semi-final is Petra Kvitova, a winner here three years back, so this is not a changing of the guard. But it sure is swelling the ranks of those guards and that is going to make the women’s game great to watch over the next couple of years.

Simona Halep is still just 22 and then there’s Madison Keys, who didn’t have a great time here but is only 19 and a real live talent. So there is going to be real depth to the women’s game and that is good for the sport. But let’s deal with the here and now – and right now I like the look of Bouchard.

She has not dropped a set to get to Centre Court this afternoon. Halep, though, has dropped only one of her own. These are the two form players of the year, both making it into the danger zone of the Slams.

Bouchard has not gone beyond the semi-final but the way she has played here says to me she can do it. She is an all-rounder, stands strong on the base line and is not afraid to mix her game up a little on the grass. She doesn’t come in much but picked her moments in the quarter-final to stride towards the net and pinch a point or two.

I like the way she manages her game but it will be truly tested by Halep this afternoon on Centre Court. I see a couple of key areas. The first is to do with age and the fact that these are a couple of girls in the early stages of their careers. Halep had got to a Slam final before and Bouchard has played in a couple of semis but Centre Court at Wimbledon, semi-final day, that is going to be one hell of a test of their nerves. Can they cope with the occasion? Can they keep their game together?

Bouchard is coached by Nick Saviano out in Florida. Nick and I go way back, he was once a pupil of mine, and I have to say huge congratulations to him for the work he has done with Bouchard. Now one of the things Nick likes to say to Bouchard is “play the point, not the scoreboard”. Bouchard said that was in her mind when she faced four break points early in her quarter-final against Angelique Kerber. She kept cool and played each point. If she can do that then she will be in a good place.

I see this being a contest between Bouchard’s firepower, her big serve and that swinging forehand that forces an opponent deep, and Halep’s amazing ability to run down ball after ball. North, south, east or west, it doesn’t matter where the ball goes Halep will chase it down – like an old wild west sheriff in pursuit of a gunslinger. She is one of the best retrievers around and she will look to hustle and hurry Bouchard off the court. Halep has a good serve of her own, quicker than you would imagine for someone of her size. Both averaged 99mph in their quarters and both had a quickest of 107mph. That’s a weapon.

What Bouchard does well is to follow her serve up with that forehand and her ability to hit the ball low over the net. Halep will send it back plenty of times – this is a woman who never knows when she is beaten. She was 3-0 and 4-1 down to Sabine Lisicki, a player who can blast you off court, but never stopped running. She has strong belief in her own game. I think this match is just too close to call and, hey, who can blame me for sitting on the fence for this one after what has happened in this Wimbledon?

Thursday’s big game: Bouchard v Halep

Eugenie Bouchard/Simona Halep

Canadian Nationality Romanian

20 Age 22

Montreal, Canada Residence Constanta, Romaina

5ft 10in Height 5ft 6in

Right-handed Plays Right-handed

13 World ranking 3

1 Career titles 7

$1.74m Prize-money $4.56m

7-1 Wimbledon record 7-3

Semi-final (2014) Wimbledon best Semi-final (2014)

Won 0 Head-to-head Won 1

Bollettieri’s prediction Too close to call

Coaching report: You’d better believe it – Dimitrov is the real deal

I’ve been rubbing my eyes. Is this Wimbledon fact or fiction? It is turning into one hell of a drama, with more twists and turns than any dime novelist has ever come up with. What a tournament – and who has any idea how it will all end on Sunday?

I have to tip my cap to Johnny McEnroe about what happened today. I have said all along that this boy Grigor Dimitrov is going to be very good – I said if I could pick one player to coach today it would be him – but I also thought he wasn’t quite ready. In truth, I thought he needed another year to get to the level when he is going to be troubling guys at the business end of Slams. Johnny Mac said he was ready now, and boy was he right.

Dimitrov is good enough to take on anybody here – if he can do that to Andy Murray then he can worry any man still standing. The big thing for a guy like this, at this stage of his career, is to get everything that happened today out of his mind and get all his focus on Friday’s semi-final. That is not easy to do – Angelique Kerber looked like she had left it all out on Centre Court to bring down Maria Sharapova when she crashed out to Eugenie Bouchard over on No 1 Court. Dimitrov could do worse than have a word with Sharapova – a woman who knows how to win.

He just went at Murray and, on the day, Murray could not deal with it. This was a bad day at the office for last year’s champion. They happen and what a player and his team have to do is get together, be honest with each other and work damn hard to get back on track and get these youngsters off his back.

Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser