Alize Cornet is having quite the season in 2022. The French star made her first Grand Slam appearance at the French Open in 2005. 17 years later she made her first ever Grand Slam quarterfinal at the Australian Open in January. On Sunday she replicated the feat at Wimbledon, toppling world #1 Iga Swiatek to do so. That win was the icing on the cake of what has been an incredible six months for Cornet. Anything from here is the cherry on top but it’s certainly worth taking a look back at what has been a year of firsts for Cornet in 2022.
A Year of Firsts for the French Star
Australia Brings First Taste of Quarterfinals
In January, after a relatively quite 2021 campaign, Alize Cornet took the tennis world by storm in Melbourne. The former Junior French Open champion showed immense competitive spirit and determination to make her first ever quarterfinal appearance at a Grand Slam. For someone with the length of career and talent that Cornet has, it is certainly a surprise that it took so long. The feat came after 62 consecutive previous Grand Slam appearances for Cornet. In the run she beat Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza, both former world #1 players. Cornet has always been a talented player who perhaps didn’t fully live up to her potential. However, the 2022 Australian Open was the first time she demonstrated that talent on one of the biggest stages in tennis. Little did we know, it wouldn’t be the last.
A Quite Few Months Brought Back to Life by Wonder-Run at Wimbledon
After her success in Australia, Cornet fell off the map a bit. She picked up two wins at the French Open but did little besides that to draw the eye. In fact, she has picked up just 3 wins across eight tournaments before Roland Garros. It appears that the grass court swing has given her new life though, with Cornet making the semifinals in Bad Homburg and now the fourth of Wimbledon (tied for her best showing here). At WTA Bad Homburg she beat another former world #1 and Grand Slam champion in Angelique Kerber. Perhaps then we should have seen her victory over Swiatek coming, but few if any did. Nonetheless, Cornet stormed to a straight sets victory over the two-time French Open champion. The win was both emphatic and impressive and it too brought a couple more first-time moments with it.
End of the Win Streak
Cornet’s win in the last round marked the first time Iga Swiatek has lost in 38 matches. It ended the longest win streak since 2000, an impressive run by the Polish star that spanned seven tournaments and included six titles. The match was the first meeting between the pair as well, meaning Cornet has a perfect record against the best player in women’s tennis. As mentioned above, the victory also gave her a spot in the fourth round and an opportunity to better her previous best finish at Wimbledon.
If she wins in the next round, she will done twice in a year what she failed to do in the previous sixteen years of her career. Pretty amazing stuff for a player who has admitted she is considering retirement. That admission brings us neatly to the most pertinent question regarding the rest of the year and indeed her career, what’s next for Alize Cornet?
3 Wins Away From Tennis Immortality
The obvious answer to that question is three more wins at Wimbledon. If she achieves that then she ticks off first Grand Slam semifinal, final and win all in one go. One suspects Cornet isn’t letting her ambitions lift so high just yet, but they certainly should be. She faces Ajla Tomljanovic in the next round and has an even 2-2 record against the Aussie. Tomljanovic was a quarterfinalist here last year but hasn’t played brilliantly in 2022 and is certainly beatable.
Her win against Swiatek shows that anything is possible in these tournaments and there may yet be more to the fairy tale run Cornet is enjoying in 2022. Win or lose, this year has shown that Cornet still has the level needed to be successful on the WTA Tour and is certainly an addition to the game. Hopefully we see more of her for years to come. At the very least, we will see her in action on Monday with the chance to once again make her own bit of history. Allez Cornet, Allez.
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