Cornet ends Swiatek’s 37-match winning streak

Published July 3, 2022
POLAND’S Iga Swiatek returns a shot to Alize Cornet of France during their third-round match at Wimbledon on Saturday.—AFP
POLAND’S Iga Swiatek returns a shot to Alize Cornet of France during their third-round match at Wimbledon on Saturday.—AFP

LONDON: Iga Swiatek was dumped out of Wimbledon in straight sets on Saturday by French veteran Alize Cornet, ending the world number one’s 37-match winning streak.

Cornet, ranked 37, took advantage of an error-strewn performance from her Polish opponent to win 6-4, 6-2 on Court 1 in their third-round tie.

Swiatek made a total of 33 unforced errors in an uncharacteristically sloppy display, compared with just seven by Cornet.

In reaching the fourth round, the French player matches her run at Wimbledon in 2014, when she beat Serena Williams in the third round.

“I have no words right now,” she said. “It reminds me of the time I beat Serena on the same court eight years ago exactly. This court is a lucky charm for me.”

Cornet said she felt Swiatek could be vulnerable on grass after pulling off the biggest shock at Wimbledon so far.

The 32-year-old reached a career milestone by defeating former number one Simona Halep to advance to her first major quarter-final at the Australian Open earlier this year.

“I’m like good wine,” said Cornet, who is contesting her 62nd consecutive Slam, matching Ai Sugiyama’s record.

“In France good wine always ages well, that’s what’s happened to me. It’s unreal — I’m playing one of the best seasons of my career.”

Top seed Swiatek was on the back foot right from the start of the match, broken in her first two service games, and could not get back on level terms.

The 21-year-old broke at her first opportunity in the second set but Cornet broke back immediately, winning the last six games of the 93-minute match.

Swiatek had not lost a match since her defeat to Jelena Ostapenko in February in Dubai, winning her past six tournaments, including the French Open.

Though she had looked unbeatable on hard courts and clay, she had admitted she was on a learning curve on grass.

She was made to battle hard in the second round to defeat lucky loser Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove in three sets.

With her loss to Cornet, Swiatek still has yet to beat a top-50 player on grass.

Cornet will face Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic for a place in the quarter-finals.

Australian 19th seed Alex De Minaur beat British wild card Liam Broady in straight sets and will play Chile’s Cristian Garin in the last 16.

Dutch 21st seed Botic van de Zandschulp saw off the challenge of French veteran Richard Gasquet in four sets.

Earlier, Harmony Tan, who knocked Serena Williams out in the first round, demolished British wild card Katie Boulter 6-1, 6-1 in just 51 minutes to reach the fourth round.

The 24-year-old French player broke Boulter five times in a dominant display to disappoint the crowd on Court Two.

“I think I like grass,” said Tan, ranked 115th in the world. “I never play on this court but I like to play with slice and volley and everything with my game so I’m really happy.

“It was really emotional for the first round against Serena and after it was just playing match by match and today was really good tennis. I don’t know why but it depends on the day.”

Tan will next play 20th seed Amanda Anisimova, who came from behind to beat French Open finalist Coco Gauff 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-1 in an all-American tie.

Simona Halep, the champion in 2019, eased through to the last 16 with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Magdalena Frech.

The Romanian will next play fourth seed Paula Badosa, who defeated two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).

Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2022

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