Alize Cornet came out the best to finish a rain-delayed start at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. The French star rallied right when the match resumed to take down Tatiana Maria in three sets 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 on Banque Nationale court at IGA Stadium.
This was the first time since their infamous match at the French Open where the German felt Cornet had too many calls for the trainer before she inevitably won it due to those. Their meeting in the first round made for an interesting battle with both losing in their last match. While Cornet had a title under her belt this year in Gstaad, the 28-year-old had to rev up for the hard courts of Canada as the final slam of the year stood three weeks away with an opponent heated to get revenge.
She opened scoring holding her own service game to start the set but getting the upper hand against Cornet proved difficult. The 28-year-old delivered a strong statement to match Maria's leading to a stalemate movement through six games. A great attack for Cornet worked on placing the shots away from the German resulted in three break points. It took a second one where Maria let her forehand go awry giving Cornet the lead at 4-3. Maria decided it time to call her husband Charles down to get some advice on how to counter her opponent and make the winners work for her.
It was a lot of hard work in the eighth as she battled Cornet to deuce where even getting the leverage was difficult. It eventually came to Maria after a bit to break back keeping the score level. When she served in the ninth, Maria pushed the ball well against Cornet to secure herself a 5-4 lead putting Cornet in danger of dropping the set. The 28-year-old fell under the pressure giving Maria two set points before smashing a high ball into the net in front of her ending 46 minutes.
Cornet led the way taking control of the second set after getting her serve locked down a second time before the rain fell for the remainder of the night. When they resumed play the next day, Cornet made it 3-1 for the hold before consolidating it with a break in the fifth hoping to push the German into a final set. She reached 5-1 coming from 0-30 against Maria to set up a chance to break. The German got to deuce on serve but made some bad backhand returns during the rallies. She couldn’t get away from them as Cornet achieved the goal needed to put a decider in play after 48 minutes.
Cornet used all her good moments in the set where she dictated so well and brought it into the third taking Maria for a ride she didn’t feel comfortable with. The French star took three games while gaining a lot of confidence for herself to finish it. Maria's coach and husband didn’t agree with that and spoke to his player on how to overcome and fight on. She earned a hold in the fourth keeping Cornet back on scoring points while also ending the shutout.
She added a second straight win with a lot of effort from her breaking Cornet in the fifth hoping to find a way to get in front of her. Cornet denied her that chance as she broke the German in the sixth regaining a two-game buffer while inching to a spot in the second round. Maria broke back to get within one with the eighth game becoming a moment for her to level. They battled to deuce where every point was huge for them to play. After 10 minutes of play, Cornet earned the AD point win that lasted several breaks to serve for the match at 5-3. She completed the match finishing off Maria with a brisk victory in the ninth that gave her the win after 2 hours and 26 minutes.
With many of her elements coming together to sweep away the competition to start the tournament, the difficulty for her increased as she faces Angelique Kerber in the second round.Published 08 Aug 2018, 03:32 IST