Wimbledon 2019: Azarenka holds back Cornet in first round
Victoria Azarenka clinched a strong victory at the Championships Wimbledon on Monday night. The Belorussian kept herself strong against Alize Cornet who put together a strong fight but went down in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 on Court 12 at the All England Tennis Club.
The French star looked for her first win over the Belorussian with four wins under her belt from earlier grass court tourneys in 2019. Cornet picked up three straight in Eastbourne that included her first top ten win of the season. Though she had never faced Azarenka on grass, her warm-up from the previous week gave her a shot at taking down the former world number one and two-time semifinalist.
The 29-year-old got only one match in and it came against Caroline Garcia who gave a full effort to avoid going down in three sets. With her last opening round loss dating back to 2006, Azarenka would do anything to avoid it from happening again.
Earning a break, the Belorussian held Cornet to just two points before taking the opening lead. She made sure to secure the serve even after being challenged on deuce where she took care of things on the first AD point. Cornet got on the board with her serve but was challenged through three breaks of deuce before she finally contained the AD point. With the French star not on the same level as Azarenka, the opportunities were there for the 29-year-old who held to open the gap to a pair after four games elapsed.
By the sixth, the gap disappeared for Cornet who drew errors from Azarenka on serve and gained a break back to level things at three apiece. They returned to service holds with Azarenka taking a point to lead over Cornet after nine. With the ball in hand for the set, the 29-year-old fired big shots at the French player who hit them back a little too hard and gave the Belorussian two set points.
A final error from Cornet gave Azarenka the victory after 47 minutes. The winners to unforced errors ratio was high for the former world number one but minimizing the double faults and maintaining serve allowed her to sit right where she wanted going into the second set.
She got an early break on Cornet taking a jump on the score before gaining the key point to lead. A consolidation of it arrived with a blanking of the 29-year-old before she could make her mark in the third. Azarenka brushed off the lone win and increased her bottom line to keep herself a game or more ahead of the French veteran. She had the goal by the time six games were in play as they remained on serve.
When it looked as if the Belorussian had the control, Cornet rallied back to stay within reach and kept her focus while serving. The two soon found themselves at a 5-4 stance with Azarenka in reach of the match but the French star hot on her tail. It came down to her service game in the tenth that determined if she could dictate her victory. Cornet made one final push to force the deuce but derailing Azarenka was not on the cards for the Frenchwoman as the latter fired big forehand cross courts to get her out of trouble and end the match in 1 hour and 29 minutes.
With a good footing into another major for Azarenka, she’ll try to dig into more tennis facing Australian Ajla Tomljanovic on Wednesday.