Saturday, May 28

On his 63rd attempt, Cornet reaches the Grand Slam quarterfinals

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Alize Cornet has finally reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament on her 63rd attempt.

The 32-year-old Cornet survived a second-set collapse to advance to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory over two-time Grand Slam winner, Simona Halep.

“It’s never too late to try again!” Cornet said in his on-court television interview. “Being in my first quarterfinals. It is a dream come true.

“The journey continues. I still can’t believe it.

Cornet led by a set and 3-1 before dropping five straight games and 16 straight points to send the match to a decider.

Halep saved two match points on serve in the ninth game before Cornet clinched the match in the tenth. He knelt on the court and clasped his hands together, placing them over his face before looking across the stadium at his support team.

“It feels amazing,” Cornet said. “The battle we had with Simone, in this heat. After 30 minutes, we were dying.”

Cornet will next play Danielle Collins, who defeated 19th seed Elise Mertens 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in a nearly three-hour match to open the game at Rod Laver Arena. Collins was a semifinalist in Australia in 2019.

Cornet has never made it past the fourth round since making her Grand Slam singles debut as a wild card at the 2005 French Open. This is her 17th Australian Open campaign.

The two women’s matches on the 8th were played in temperatures as high as 34 Celsius (93 F). Cornet used ice packs to cool her head during the changes and wrapped cold towels around her neck.

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“I just stopped thinking afterwards. . . 30 minutes of play. My brain was already on overload,” Cornet said. “My vision was no longer clear. My hands were shaking.”

But he added: “I thought on the other side of the court, she didn’t feel much better than I did.”

Cornet, playing in his 60th consecutive Grand Slam tournament, was 0-5 in fourth-round matches in the majors before Monday.

Her win over Halep, a former Wimbledon and French Open champion and runner-up to Australia, gave her a record for most major appearances before reaching the quarterfinals. Tamarine Tanasugarn previously held the 45-year mark, set at Wimbledon in 2008.

Cornet also had to do it the hard way. Cornet beat third-seeded Garbiñe Muguruza in straight sets in the second round but had to come back from 6-4, 4-1 to beat 2021 French Open semifinalist Tamara Zidansek in a 2-2 third-round win. hours and 43 minutes.

Collins hasn’t had a straight path either, having to come back from a set down to win back-to-back matches at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.

The 28-year-old American also dropped the first set in her third-round victory over Clara Tauson.

“Today was really tough physically for me,” Collins said. “I played a long match the other day, two and a half hours, and then I played doubles, so I spent about five hours on court.

“I had to make a lot of technical adjustments to get comfortable moving around, especially serving.”

Collins was aggressive with her groundstrokes, hitting 45 game winners and committing 41 errors against Mertens. He converted five of his 18 break chances and clinched victory when Mertens, a semi-finalist in Australia in 2018, double-faulted.

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In the men’s fourth-round matches later on Monday, US Open champion Daniil Medvedev would play Maxime Cressy, fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was scheduled to play No. 20 Taylor Fritz and 2014 US Open champion, Marin Cilic was up against ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.


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