The Frenchwoman had won her clash in the second round in Berlin a fortnight ago 7-6 (2), 7-5, to reach her first semi-final on grass. In that game, she had led 4-1 in straight sets before being caught by Andreescu in combat – but this time around Cornet managed to maintain her early advances.
In Berlin, Cornet confessed his surprise at his strong form on grass after a disappointing season on clay. But it was the substantial experience of the world No.58 on the surface, where she upset Serena Williams at Wimbledon 2014, that was again key.
Cornet, 31, is in her 14th Wimbledon, having appeared in all the main draws since 2007. Andreescu is playing her third, having qualified in 2017 and lost in the first round to Kristina Kucova, and fell in 2018 when qualifying against Antonia Lottner. Indeed, the 21-year-old Canadian didn’t earn her first WTA main draw victory on grass until last week in Eastbourne against Christina McHale.
As in Berlin, Cornet mixed hard, flat forehands with skillful net play and breathtaking defense to outsmart his opponent. Andreescu, meanwhile, was increasingly unsure of her position – which Cornet took full advantage of by throwing the dropshot whenever the former US Open champion slid across the slippery grass.
Cornet’s experience on the surface and the confidence gained from the victory in Berlin resulted in superior play on big points. The opening set was much closer than the score suggests, with Andreescu deploying thin slices and dropshots herself that demonstrated her potential on the grass.
But at 2-2, Cornet won four consecutive bouts in several ties, with Andreescu unable to find any consistency in the important moments. As she fell behind a double break, the No.5 seed alternated between thrilling winners and sloppy mistakes, especially on overhead. On the other hand, on several occasions, Cornet extricated himself from tight service games with unrecoverable deliveries.
Two more Andreescu slips early in the second set derailed his attempt to keep the pressure on the scoreboard. Instead, Cornet scored 12 straight points to take a 4-0 lead. Andreescu stabilized and briefly made the conclusion of the match slightly tighter. However, a courageous 0-40 catch gave Cornet a 5-1 lead, and the former world No.11 finished in style.
On her first match point, she kind of dug up a miraculous lob that landed in the opposite corner. This earned Cornet, delighted, a standing ovation from the No. 2 crowd on the court.
Kasatkina and Ostapenko win opening matches for second round clash
Two of the 1997-born generation stars will resume a fascinating rivalry in the second round after No.31 seed Daria Kasatkina defeats Patricia Maria Tig 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 and Jelena Ostapenko blitzed Leylah Fernandez 6- 1, 6-2.
The pair met last week in the Eastbourne quarter-finals, with Ostapenko winning 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 to lead 3-2 in their overall head-to-head. The Latvian won her fourth career title and brought the same sparkling form to SW19, where she was previously a semi-finalist in 2018.
The talented 18-year-old Fernandez, who won her first title in Monterrey in March, was a potential banana peel. But Ostapenko only needed 55 minutes to pass, forcing the Canadian to take a defensive stance for most of the game.
A pinch of six double faults was Ostapenko’s only concern. But after both of them led to a break in her first serve game, she gave them a good shake, only facing one more breaking point in the game. Plus, she made up for that by taking the start on Fernandez’s serve at every opportunity, smashing world number 71 six times in total.
After a dominant opening set, Kasatkina was challenged considerably as Tig found the mark with a few laser groundstrokes. But the Russian regained the upper hand by increasing her aggressiveness in the decisive set, closing the match with a succession of sparkling forehands.
Juvan scores best career win with upset Bencic; Sorribes Tormo wins stylistic contrast on Konjuh
World number 102 Kaja Juvan ousted another seed in the first round at Wimbledon, overtaking number 9 seed Belinda Bencic 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and 20 minutes.
The Slovenian had started 2021 in great shape, compiling an 11-4 record until the second round in Monterrey – where she tested positive for coronavirus, forcing her to withdraw from this tournament. Juvan returned to action in Madrid, but his Wimbledon entry had lost all five of their games since.
The 20-year-old delivered a supreme tactical performance against Bencic, who was a finalist in Berlin two weeks ago. Both players shot 22 winners, but Juvan was tight with 13 unforced errors against 28 for Bencic. The Swiss player was also beset by six double faults, at one point turning to her team to ask: “Are you going to help me with my serve or what?” “
Juvan also wowed the crowd with several brilliantly constructed points as she closed her third Top 20 win. The final game featured a dropshot return followed by a skillful lob and forehand pass to finish, and a few points later, Juvan hit another pass on his backhand wing to reach the match point.
One of the most extreme stylistic contrasts of the first round pitted Sara Sorribes Tormo against qualifier Ana Konjuh. He didn’t disappoint in terms of entertainment: both Konjuh’s power and Sorribes Tormo’s tireless defense were mind-blowing, but it was the latter who won the matchday 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
Sorribes Tormo had to withstand a 47-winners play-off from the Croatian, but her skill on the edge and at the net signaled that the Guadalajara champion could be a force on the grass as well as on her native clay. Frequently, Sorribes Tormo displayed remarkable reflexes on the forecourt, even when drawn by strings of surprise net.
The commitment to come to the net also paid off for Konjuh, but the former world number 20 was eventually sunk by 51 unforced errors, including 12 double faults.
Pavlyuchenkova, Muchova across; Linette reiterates Anisimova’s victory
No.16 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and No.19 seed Karolina Muchova were both effective winners in their late first round matches. Pavlyuchenkova won her first match since reaching the Roland Garros final 6-2, 6-2 against Ana Bogdan, while Muchova defeated Nottingham runner-up Zhang Shuai 6-3, 6-3.
Both are former quarter-finals at Wimbledon – Pavlyuchenkova reached this stage in 2016, while Muchova upset compatriot Karolina Pliskova in a classic fourth round on her SW19 debut in 2019. They remain on the right track way to compete in the third round this year.
In 2019, Magda Linette achieved a minor surprise in the second round of the championships, beating Amanda Anisimova – who had just finished a Roland Garros semi-final – 6-4, 7-5. The Pole picked up on that in the first round this year, coming off a set and a break to beat the American 2-6, 6-3, 6-1. In the end, Linette easily moved the ball across the field and sealed the victory by slicing a slice down the line.