The Frenchwoman Alizé Cornet celebrated her 32 years on Saturday in Melbourne with a qualification for the round of 16 of the Australian Open, a stage also reached by Simona Halep and Aryna Sabalenka.
Shortly before 17h24 (01h30 French), the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas led two sets to zero against the French Benoît Paire and the Russian Daniil Medvedev had won the first set against the Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp.
Cornet, 60 world, qualified at the end of her strength by turning around a compromised situation to beat the Slovenian Tamara Zidansek (29e) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
“C’ was survival! I didn’t miss the heat of Melbourne,” she said, beaming after her victory on her birthday.
“Happy birthday to @alizecornet teammate, reading partner, writer, tennis player and 8th runner-up at @AustralianOpen”, tweeted her compatriot Caroline Garcia, to accompany a photo of the two players with President Emmanuel Macron during of a reception in 2019 at the Élysée, after having won the Fed Cup.
The Frenchwoman had created the surprise in the 2nd round by clearly dominating the Spaniard Garbine Muguruza (6-3, 6-3) but she had great difficulty confirming: she was trailing 6-4, 4-1!
– “No solution” –
“I couldn’t find a solution but I continued to fight and it’s magic to have won”, she admitted.
Especially since she remained on three consecutive eliminations in the 2nd round in Melbourne, where she had reached the round of 16 in 2009.
“Thirteen years after my first round of 16 at the Australian Open, I’m back!”, she told the audience.
Cornet is participating in his 60th consecutive Grand Slam tournament and has reached the round of 16 in each of the four Majors, without ever managing to climb into the quarters.
Romanian Simona Halep during his match against Montenegrin Danka Kovinic in the 3rd round of the Australian Open in Melbourne on 22 January (AFP – Martin KEEP)For the sixth time, she will try to do so on Monday, facing the Romanian Simona Halep (17e).
At 30 years, this one advances quietly but serenely in the table.
She successively dismissed the Polish Magdalena Frech (102e) 6-4, 6-3 in 1h24, then the Brazilian Beatriz Haddad (85e) 6-2, 6-0 in 1h06 and, on Saturday, it only took 1 hour01 to eliminate the Montenegrin Danka Kovinic (98e) 6-2, 6-1.
– Halep confidently –
“I feel very good, even if it is very hot today, confided the former world No.1. I played very well but she was a little tired.”
“I have more and more confidence after a difficult year,” she warned. last year, she had reached the final of the Australian Open in 2018.
After a season truncated by repeated injuries, the double Grand Slam winner (Roland-Garros 2018 and Wimbledon 2019) started the year well 2022. She won the WTA tournament in Melbourne before the Australian Open and made her way without shaking until there a path in the table of the Major.
The Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka against Czech Marketa Vondrousova in the 3rd round of the Australian Open in Melbourne on 20 January (AFP – Paul Crock) The qualification was, on the other hand, again complicated for the world N.2 Aryna Sabalenka.
For the third time in as many games, the Belarusian has was seriously endangered before winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 against the Czech Marketa Vondrousova (41e).
“I am very happy, especially because I only committed ten double faults,” she said in smiling, referring to his first two catastrophic matches in terms of his face-off.
In the second set in particular, when it was necessary to reverse the course of the game against the Roland-Garros finalist 2019, she has passed 73% of his first balls and won 12 22 points played on his first service.
In the next round, she will face Estonian Kaia Kanepi (115e), who beat Australian Maddison Inglis (133e) 2-6, 6-2, 6-0.
American Danielle Collins ( 30e) and the Belgian Elise Mertens (24e), who will compete for a place in the quarters.