Madrid Open: Alize Cornet stuns Simona Halep
The WTA Madrid Open saw a massive upset on its inaugural day as Alize Corner sent the World Number two and one of the tournament favourites, Simona Halep packing in the first round of the event.
Pitted against the 28th ranked Cornet, Halep was the undisputed favourite heading into the first round encounter. However, a determined Cornet, refused to wilt under the enormous pressure that playing one of the big guns invariably entailed, and won the match 7-6 (6), 6-3.
The first set saw both players drop serves once each before pushing it to a tiebreak, which turned out to be an exciting affair. In an uncharacteristic show of composure, Cornet held her nerve even as Halep earned herself a set-point in the tiebreak, which the former saved with an exquisite down-the-line backhand.
Cornet was in her element as she dictated proceedings in the second set against Halep, who committed as many as 20 unforced errors in the course of the match. The second-ranked Halep began the second set unconvincingly as she was forced to save break-points in the first and second games. However, her luck evaporated in the fifth game of the second set, when she struck an easy backhand to the net at 0-40 down to have Cornet go 3-2 up.
Cornet was saved from the trouble of serving for the match as Halep made a fatal mistake on her backhand in the ninth game to give her opponent the second set and the match.
Predictably, Cornet was on cloud nine following her surprise win against Halep. “It went great for me - I played really amazing on the centre court. The first set was really tight and I saved a set point by doing an amazing backhand down the line. The second was tight as well. The score doesn't really mean anything and I had to be focused to the end. "I was a bit stressed because I was about to beat the world no.2, but finally it was just a big relief and I'm really proud of myself”, gushed Cornet.
Bouchard loses while Serena, Sharapova advance
Eighth-seed Eugenie Bouchard’s form continued its downward slide as she squandered a first-set lead to go down to Barbara Strycova of Czech Republic. Bouchard began the match on a thumping note, taking the first set 6-0, but failed to maintain the momentum, which was wrested from her by Strycova who won the match, 0-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Serena Williams, meanwhile began her campaign at the Madrid Open in typical fashion, as she coasted to a 6-0, 6-1 win against Madison Brengle. Her sister, Venus, however, slumped to a 3-6, 5-7 loss to Victoria Azarenka.
Maria Sharapova, who was ousted in the second round by Angelique Kerber at Stuttgart, seemed to have shrugged off the disappointing loss, as she completely outplayed Timea Bacsinszky. Sharapova registered a convincing 6-2, 6-3 win to get her Madrid Open campaign off to a winning start.