France’s Alize Cornet celebrates winning her second round match against Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, Melbourne January 20, 2022. — Reuters pic
MELBOURNE, Jan 20 — French veteran Alize Cornet described herself as “a bit of a dinosaur” after she sent world number three and 2020 finalist Garbine Muguruza crashing out of the Australian Open in the second round Thursday, upsetting the Spaniard 6-3, 6-3.
WTA Finals winner Muguruza struggled with her serve throughout the clash on Rod Laver Arena against her 61st-ranked opponent, losing in 1hr 27min.
Cornet has never been past the fourth round of a major, but she is hugely experienced, appearing in 60 consecutive Grand Slam main draws, the WTA’s longest active streak and third longest in history.
“I played a great match out there today, my state of mind was perfect, I was not very tired, I was just super focused on what I had to do,” said Cornet, who turns 32 on Saturday.
“I felt like I was in a bubble and you always have to play a super good match to beat Garbine, she’s such a fighter and even at the end I was a set and a break up but knew she would not let go of a single point.
“I am a bit of a dinosaur on the tour, I’ve been there for 16 years so I have played a lot of matches and faced a lot of situations that I have overcome,” she added.
“I think the experience I have helped me today.”
In the Open Era, only Japan’s Ai Sugiyama with 62 appearances and Italy’s Francesca Schiavone, with 61, have played more consecutive Slams.
She and Muguruza had met four times before with Cornet always proving a tough opponent.
They split their previous matches, but Cornet prevailed most recently in a third-set tiebreak at last year’s Berlin quarter-finals.
Muguruza struggled from the start in Melbourne, broken on her first service game to go 2-0 behind on the back of six unforced errors in those opening games.
Cornet had three break points to make it 4-0, but the Spaniard saved them all but Muguruza’s serving struggles continued and she had to repel another break point to prevent herself going 1-5 behind with Cornet returning well.
But the Cornet closed out the set in 47 minutes with the Spaniard winning just 57 percent of first serves and an even worse ratio on the second.
The second set went with serve until Cornet brought up a break point in game five with a net volley, converted with a sizzling cross-court forehand to move 3-2 ahead and raced to a convincing win. — AFP