Alize Cornet didn’t have clean gameplay but earned the conclusion she wanted at the Australian Open Tuesday. The game, that had a lot of inconsistencies on both sides, finished with the French veteran taking the win on Court 22 against Lara Arruabarrena 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the second round at Melbourne Park.
The French star who made her 14th run at the Open was again facing an unknown opponent who would try to cause her problems. This was her seventh time in the tournament and carried a record of 3-3 when playing the opening round. While they have never met before, it was going to be important for Cornet to hold it together and counter anything that Arruabarrena brings to the court.
Before the Spaniard could act, it was a one-way trail for Cornet who conducted a major plan of attack that produced amazing results. Despite a few long battles in games, Cornet achieved a double break before going up 5-0 on Arruabarrena.
Suddenly the tide changed in favor of the 26-year-old who kept Cornet at bay in the sixth to end the surge. She consolidated with a break in the seventh making it look as if she had a full comeback in motion.
Cornet began to realize it and struggled to put the Spaniard away. The eighth game was yet another marathon of fighting for the game-winner. After forcing deuce, the 28-year-old blew two break points for the set which extended the game further.
It wasn’t until the fifth break that Cornet found a way to put an end to the set that took 49 minutes to complete. The second serve was the culprit responsible for giving Arruabarrena time to make a break chance. Her 20 winners saved her overall stance in hopes she could start over with a fresh set of games in the second.
They continued the long struggle for control with Cornet earning a tough hold that spanned three breaks. Arruabarrena slipped up on her service game that gave Cornet two chances at the break but failed to secure it. Once the nerves got out, they found their comfort zone through the next two games that had them holding one another off.
When it came to the fifth where the French star blanked Arruabarrena, it was the start of a major change in control. She went on to break in the sixth before consolidating it with another hold after the first deuce.
With the window closing, the Spaniard made a severe push to stay in contention of the match where she created a nightmare of a time on the court for Cornet. Arruabarrena got ahead at 40-30 forcing Cornet to force deuce. She soon reached match point only to see the Spaniard win on a forehand saving the first.
Cornet got another one but suffered an error from the forehand forced error. Two more match points went south for the 28-year-old before a chance to get out of trouble for Arruabarrena arrived. A backhander killed the opportunity before she would be responsible for her demise when an error on the forehand ended the longest game of the match.
It lasted 11 minutes but the resulting win for Cornet was thrilling. She got through in straight sets completing 1 hour and 32 minutes.
Both had a combined 41 unforced errors with neither one truly strong on the serves. Cornet's ability to win came with 32 winners that had outscored the Spaniard 78-60. With the first round jitters over and done, the world number 47 could prepare for her next match facing Venus Williams.