Genie Bouchard’s dream Australian Open draw opens up even more

MELBOURNE, Australia – Before the Australian Open even began, it was clear that Westmount, Que.'s Eugenie Bouchard had, by the random luck of the draw, found herself in a pretty good situation.

The No. 30 seed's potential third-round opponent could have been any one of the top eight, a roster that included Grand Slam champions Serena Williams, Li Na, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova.

Instead, the 19-year-old drew No. 7, Sara Errani, thoroughly beatable on a faster hard court and not exactly brimming with confidence as 2014 begins.

Errani never got there. Neither did No. 14 seed Roberta Vinci nor No. 18 Kirsten Flipkens, the seeded players in the section Bouchard was slated to meet in the fourth round.

And as Bouchard has taken full advantage of her draw to move into the Grand Slam tournament's second week, it got even better Sunday.

No. 1 seed Serena Williams, battling back issues, was upset by Ana Ivanovic of Serbia Sunday afternoon.

Click here for a photo gallery of Bouchard's warmup session Sunday afternoon.

If Bouchard can beat her fourth-round opponent, the Australian wild card Casey Dellacqua Sunday night (3 a.m. ET Sunday morning back home, midnight on the west coast), only Ivanovic would stand in the way of the Canadian reaching a Grand Slam semifinal.

That's a big "if", obviously.

"If" she beats Dellacqua, who will have the entirety of Rod Laver Arena save for the group that calls itself the "Genie Army" against her.

And then, "if" she beats Ivanovic.

But that's not without precedent; Bouchard defeated Ivanovic at Wimbledon last summer.

And after such a major win over the world No. 1, one in which Ivanovic kept her emotions and nerves in check and played much the way she did back in 2008 when she reached No. 1 herself, it will be difficult not to have a letdown in the next round – especially when the way is clear to a major semi-final for the first time in what probably seems like eons to her.

Bouchard was out practicing on Court 9 Sunday afternoon in preparation for the 7 p.m. match. To say the least, there were a few more people watching her than there were a week ago, when it all began.