Alize Cornet struggling to hold

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Hong Kong Open: Garbine Muguruza shrugs of rain delay to cruise into quarters; Luksika Kumkhum ousts Alize Cornet

Hong Kong: Fourth seed Garbine Muguruza shrugged off a rain delay to sweep through to the quarter-finals of the Hong Kong Open Wednesday in confident style.

The Spanish former Wimbledon and French Open champion brushed aside Romania’s Ana Bogdan with the loss of only three games to underline her status as one of the tournament favourites.

File image of Garbine Muguruza. AFP

Torrential downpours delayed the start of play by more than four hours and the World No 13 did not come out on the court until 10.21 pm, but said she had remained focused on the game during the extended build-up.

«It really was a long day, a long wait, at some point I thought I was maybe not going to play,» Muguruza said, after winning 6-2, 6-1.

«I think you have to think you’re going to play, the moment you think you’re not going to play you relax too much and it’s harder to connect.»

Earlier, eighth seed Alize Cornet went down to Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum after a drama-filled clash which saw both players struggle to hold their serve.

The France World No 44 — who lost in a third-set tiebreak after almost three hours on court — said: «It was a crazy match, the scenario was turning around all the time, in the first set we couldn’t keep our serves, in the second we couldn’t break.»

Kristina Kucova, who caused an upset Monday after she knocked out Jelena Ostapenko, glided through her match with Viktoriya Tomova 6-1, 6-0.

«I’m very happy with the wins and it gives me a lot of confidence,» Kucova said.

«It was very difficult because we were supposed to play at 3pm, and every half an hour the supervisor postponed it. We didn’t know how long it would rain but it was the same conditions for both of us.»

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‘A good future’

China’s leading ladies will be bidding to join Muguruza in the quarter-finals when they play on Thursday.

Wang Qiang, 26, and Zhang Shuai, 29, said confidence was now growing among Chinese players after a quiet spell since trailblazer Li Na, a two-time major-winner, retired in 2020.

The pair added that Li’s shining example and the explosion of tournaments in China after her Grand Slam wins had triggered the emergence of a new generation of players.

Wang Qiang, ranked 24th, and 40th-placed Zhang head a list of four Chinese players in the current top 100, and there are 11 in the top 200 including 17-year-old US Open junior champion Wang Xiyu.

«Li Na has given us all a lot of hope,» Zhang said.

«When she won the Grand Slams I think more people decided to try tennis and try to believe in themselves.»

She added: «Now we have so many tournaments in China I think a lot of young players have more opportunities to make a higher ranking.»

Zhang, who turned professional in 2006, said the game was now a big hit among Chinese fans. China has seven WTA Tour-level tournaments this year.

«For sure it’s more popular than it was five years ago because unlike with other sports, almost every week there is a big tournament,» she said.

Wang Qiang, seeded sixth in Hong Kong, said Li’s achievements stood as a «goal» for her career, and had kick-started the development of tennis in China.

«Other players are now doing really well so I think China has a good future,» she said.

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Alize Cornet

Full Name Alize Cornet

Born January 22, 1990

Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)

Role Right-handed counterpuncher (two-handed backhand)

Relation(s) Francis Cornet (father), Patricia Cornet (mother)

HARDCOURT INDOOR

Year Tournaments Played Tournaments Won Matches Played Matches Won
2020 1 0 4 3
2020 4 0 7 2
2020 4 0 6 2
2020 3 0 7 4
2020 3 0 8 5
2020 4 0 9 6
2020 4 1 13 8
2020 5 0 8 2
2020 4 0 7 3
2020 1 0 2 1
2020 2 0 4 2
2009 3 0 6 3
2008 4 1 9 6
2007 1 0 1 0

HARDCOURT OUTDOOR

Year Tournaments Played Tournaments Won Matches Played Matches Won
2020 3 0 7 4
2020 11 0 24 13
2020 14 0 25 11
2020 12 0 30 18
2020 12 1 28 17
2020 14 0 26 12
2020 13 0 34 21
2020 12 0 29 17
2020 13 0 22 10
2020 8 0 17 9
2020 8 0 15 7
2009 11 0 21 10
2008 6 0 14 8
2007 2 0 9 7

RED CLAY

Year Tournaments Played Tournaments Won Matches Played Matches Won
2020 6 0 15 9
2020 6 1 15 10
2020 5 0 9 4
2020 5 0 8 3
2020 6 0 13 7
2020 5 0 7 2
2020 7 1 18 12
2020 6 1 16 11
2020 7 0 10 3
2020 8 0 19 11
2009 6 0 11 5
2008 4 0 14 10
2007 3 0 6 3

GRASS

Year Tournaments Played Tournaments Won Matches Played Matches Won
2020 3 0 7 4
2020 3 0 4 1
2020 3 0 3 0
2020 2 0 4 2
2020 3 0 4 1
2020 2 0 6 4
2020 2 0 4 2
2020 2 0 4 2
2020 3 0 3 0
2020 1 0 1 0
2009 2 0 2 0
2008 3 0 3 0
2007 1 0 5 3

UNKNOWN

Year Tournaments Played Tournaments Won Matches Played Matches Won
2020 1 0 1 1
2020 1 0 2 1
2008 1 0 5 4

RED CLAY INDOOR

Year Tournaments Played Tournaments Won Matches Played Matches Won
2020 1 0 3 2
2020 1 0 1 0
2020 1 0 3 2
2009 1 0 1 0
2008 1 0 1 0

SYNTHETIC INDOOR

Year Tournaments Played Tournaments Won Matches Played Matches Won
2020 1 0 4 3
2020 1 0 2 1
2020 1 0 1 0
2020 1 0 1 0
2020 1 0 1 0
2009 1 0 3 2
2008 1 0 2 1

Alize Cornet is a French tennis player who has been a steady presence in the WTA top 20 this decade, making full use of her athleticism and foot speed to regularly defeat bigger opponents.

Cornet made headlines in 2020 for defeating Serena Williams as many as three times in the same season, becoming the first player since Justine Henin in 2007 to do so. But there have been several other highlights in the Frenchwoman’s career, in which she has won 6 titles.

Best finish at each of the four Grand Slams:

Australian Open: 4th Round (2009)

French Open: 4th Round (2020, 2020)

Wimbledon: 4th Round (2020)

US Open: 3rd Round (2007, 2008, 2020, 2020)

Highest Ranking: No. 11

Style of play

Cornet is a steady baseliner who likes to use her opponents’ pace against them. In that sense she is very much a counterpuncher, and it is no surprise that she is most comfortable on clay.

Cornet often plays from behind the baseline in order to give her enough time to set up for her topspin-heavy shots. She steps into the court when she gets a short ball, but rarely ventures to the net.

Cornet is a return-oriented player who relies on breaking her opponent’s serve as often as she gets broken herself.

Strengths and weaknesses

Cornet is quick around the court, which makes her defense very strong. She also has excellent touch and timing, regularly redirecting her opponents’ big shots and using their pace against them.

Cornet has very solid groundstrokes off both wings, but it is her backhand that is the bigger weapon. She can hit it effortlessly with topspin or slice, and crosscourt or down the line, to wrong-foot the player at the other side of the net.

The Frenchwoman has a lethal return, and has been known to get even seemingly impossible serves back in play. That’s one of the reasons why she can break her opponents’ serve so often.

Cornet’s serve is her biggest liability, as it lacks the pop or consistency to seriously trouble her opponents. She also struggles to put away short balls; her forehand lacks the flat power that is so necessary to outhit players in today’s defense-based game.

Personal life

Cornet was born in Nice, France, and both her parents — Francis and Patricia — encouraged her and her brother to take up athletic pursuits from a young age.

Her brother Sebastien took up tennis first, and Alize soon followed, when she was four. She went on to become much more successful than her brother in youth tournaments, and eventually Sebastien became her agent.

Cornet had a good junior career, winning the French Open girls’ title in 2007. She soon became a major threat on clay after turning pro, reaching the Italian Open final in 2008 at the age of just 18. She went on to win the Budapest event, again on clay, that same year.

Cornet has won 6 titles in her career so far, 4 of which have come on clay. But in 2020, when pitted against the great Serena Williams, she achieved success on all surfaces. She first defeated her on hardcourt at the Dubai event, then on grass at Wimbledon, and then once more on hardcourt at Wuhan.

That year, when she became Williams’ nemesis, is widely considered to be the highlight of Cornet’s career. However, the Frenchwoman has shown that she is capable of a lot more than just recording a few wins over an all-time great, and is poised to continue winning titles in the next few years.

Ализе Корне: В первом сете оппонентка чуть не перевернула игру

Французская теннисистка Ализе Корне поделилась впечатлениями от победы на старте турнира в Лионе.

«Рада, что сумела выиграть матч в двух партиях. В первом сете соперница вполне могла перевернуть ход игры.

Счастлива выходу в следующий раунд на домашних соревнованиях. Надеюсь, что дальше буду прибавлять», — приводит слова Корне пресс-служба WTA.

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