Australian Open: Alize Cornet ousts Simona Halep; Kaia Kanepi upsets Aryna Sabalenka



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Australian Open: Alize Cornet ousts Simona Halep; Kaia Kanepi upsets Aryna Sabalenka

Under an oppressive heat, Alize Cornet took down 14th seed Simona Halep in the fourth round of the 2022 Australian Open. The Frenchwoman won 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in two hours and 33 minutes. Despite the blistering sun, both players undauntedly played long points with the Frenchwoman imposing herself on Halep.

Although the Romanian tried to go for broke on her shots, Cornet came up with powerful returns of her own that forced Halep to scramble for purchase. The two exchanged a service break each before the world no. 60 secured a second service break and tried to serve for the set in the ninth game but was broken back by Halep.

However, a third break on Halep’s serve in the 10th game gave Cornet further momentum in the match. The 32-year-old carried it onward in the second set where an early break helped her go up 3-1 in the set. From the fourth game onwards though, Halep went about making reparations in the set.

Where she’d gone for the centre of the court, Halep started hitting the ball close to the lines which left Cornet unable to control the ball as well as she’d been doing up to that point. As a result, Halep won the next five games in a row to take the second set.

Both players’ levels were high in the deciding set. The lengthy rallies got only lengthier as both found the range of their shots, from all parts of the court. In the sixth game, Cornet’s serve came under pressure and she faced a break point before Halep’s forced error erased it for her.

While the Frenchwoman went on to hold her serve in the game eventually, the inability to convert her advantage put Halep under pressure and she lost her serve in the following game. In the ninth game of the set, serving to prolong the match further, Halep faced two match points but came up with two huge serves to stave them both off and hold it.

It wasn’t, however, enough as Cornet served out the set on her third match – the first on her serve – in the 10th game of the set.

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Halep hit 27 winners, seven more than Cornet’s 22 and had 41 unforced errors to Cornet’s 46.

The Frenchwoman who’s playing her 63rd Grand Slam this year at Melbourne Park notched a milestone for herself with this victory. This is the first time in her career that Cornet’s made it to the quarters of a Major.

Looking to make some more history for herself, Cornet will clash against Danielle Collins next. The 27th seed from the US needed two hours and 51 minutes to post a comeback victory over 19th seed Elise Mertens, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in their round-of-16 match.

In the afternoon, seventh seed Iga Swiatek also claimed a comeback win in her fourth-round match against Sorana Cirstea. The Pole won 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and 28 minutes to reach the quarters of the Australian Open for the first time in her career.

Photo Credit: Alize Cornet Twitter Swiatek’s next opponent at the 2022 Australian Open will be Kaia Kanepi. The Estonian lived up to her billing as a “giant killer” and downed second seed Aryna Sabalenka.

Kanepi came from a set down and survived a late battle with her nerves to win 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(7) in two hours and 19 minutes. This is the 36-year-old’s first quarter-final at the Slam.