Australian Open 2019: Williams rallies from a tight battle with Cornet to win in three sets
Venus Williams found it in her to come out with a strong finish to the second round at the Australian Open. Alize Cornet gave it her all through 19 games but fell in the third set being silenced by a shutout that gave the American a 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 win in Margaret Court Arena at Melbourne Park. It brought an end to Cornet’s short winning streak over Williams to improve to 7-1 in the series.
The two veterans met for the eighth time with the American looking to get back into her dominance against the French star. She recorded her first win over Williams in a three-setter more than two years ago making it very important to keep that victory in mind. While she had a straight sets win with some difficulty, Williams had a tough one to start against Mihaela Buzarnescu where she fought through two tiebreaks.
It wasn’t until the end of the second that she was able to reel her game in and dictate a win. The history she had against Cornet would be a key to trying to get out front with a statement and clear her way to the third round.
Cornet earned an important break to start the set but despite great work, her mistakes showed up early. The French star suffered on the forehand errors that gave Williams free range to move the game she wanted it to. The American consolidated the break with a hold before completing the double break. Williams got up 4-1 having plenty of comforts to handle the situation, but the challenge soon returned.
Cornet and her tenacious spirit allowed her to dictate the next two games nearing a break in the seventh to stay in touch. Williams didn’t want that and rallied back to deuce to make sure her opponent knew that. On the second break, she scored the third break of the set to serve out the match up 5-3.
It didn’t come easy for her as the service wasn’t at a level she wished it to be. A fourth double fault killed her second chance to get set point leaving the door open for Cornet. She also struggled to contain the breakpoint with Williams shutting down the opportunities.
The former world number one was quickly rewarded with Cornet’s return going into the net ending 48 minutes of play. While she had 14 winners, the 38-year-old had too many unforced errors in the set that nearly had it slipping from her grasp.
It wouldn’t get easy as Cornet was on a mission to force a third set by any means. She started the set with a great defensive hold after coming from 30-40 to force deuce. Cornet saved another break before a chance at holding came after the third break. When the American took service in the second, she showed no signs of struggle giving the French player two points before leveling the set. They followed on the path of service holds with each slipping up at times but managing to hold their own.
Cornet took the all-important 5-4 lead with a fight from Williams that took them to deuce for the third time in the set. She needed three attempts to win the game that had the 38-year-old in trouble of seeing more tennis played. She tried to defend in the tenth but the fight from Cornet was at a level she couldn’t stop.
The 28-year-old forced deuce where she gained break point for the set but let it get out of her hands. She then had to be defensive and deny Williams from forcing a five-all tie to turn the momentum her way. Cornet stopped her five times before the third try at it finally came ending the battle in one hour and four minutes.
There was still the decider to play and for Williams, the opportunity to run away was at hand. She broke Cornet to start followed by a great hold that her opponent out of energy. She showed some fight in the third gaining back two break points but the tennis veteran locked down the win to remain in control.
The pace continued to go in the hands of Williams who found her groove to take it all away from Cornet. The 28-year-old had nothing strong to answer against the American who rallied to 5-0 in the blink of an eye. She served for the match and a possible shutout nailing down back to back winners before an unforced error brought up match point. It came on another error that finished William’s night in 2 hours and 18 minutes.
With the sudden surge of power, the former world number one finished like the successful superstar that she is to advance back to the third round for the 13th time and the first in two years. With a finish to her evening, she’ll get ready for a possible meeting between world number one Simona Halep or up and comer compatriot Sofia Kenin on Saturday.