32-year-old Alize Cornet sank to her knees and broke into tears as Simona Halep’s return hit the net. That moment made it clear just how much this meant to Cornet, finally making her first Slam quarterfinal after 15 years on the WTA Tour. The Frenchwoman finally gets past the fourth round at her 60th consecutive slam appearance, the third most in the open era on the women’s tour.
The last time Cornet was in the fourth round in Melbourne was all the way back in 2009. The then-19-year-old was coming off a 2008 season that saw her break into the Top 20 and finish the year at No. 16 with runs to the finals in Rome and Acapulco and a title from Budapest. Cornet was looking to establish herself as a top player in 2009 and really pushed the envelope with a fourth-round run in the Australian Open, even having two match points against the third seed and eventual finalist Dinara Safina. The Frenchwoman was definitely disappointed but the run led to her reaching her career-best ranking of No. 11 the next month. Little did Cornet know, that would be the closest she got to a slam quarterfinal for the next thirteen years.
To keep trying while not reaching the desired slam results for over a decade takes great perseverance which culminated into this stunning victory over Halep. This moment could not have had a better on-court interviewer than Jelena Dokic. Not only is Dokic involved in Cornet’s 2009 run as she would have been her quarterfinal opponent, but the Australian is also the definition of perseverance. Dokic had a rocket start to her career as a teenager but would struggle due to physical and mental abuse from her father, ultimately overcoming those struggles and managing to come back on tour. Here is their very emotional interview:
No dry eyes in the house 😭😭😭
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 24, 2022
The best part of this tale is that it still could be far from over. Cornet’s next opponent is 27th seed Danielle Collins, who has looked good and is on an impressive run in her own right, though the American has been pushed deep into the third set in back-to-back matches by Clara Tauson and Elise Mertens. It’s been very strong clutch performances by Collins that have enabled her to win those matches but it does make her more prone to running out of gas if this match goes the distance as well.
Cornet vs Collins will open Day 10 at Rod Laver Arena, at midnight GMT (7 PM Eastern).
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