Alize Cornet gains confidence ahead of AO
Originally published on 09/01/15
On Friday they met again in a crucial group match. With France needing to win all of the matches in the Group A tie against Poland to progress to the following day's final, Cornet played some of her best tennis to win 6-4, 6-2, 7-5.
After Cornet had taken the first set 6-4 the match became a real toe-to-toe fight. With Radwanska serving at 1-1 in the second set, Cornet finally broke on her ninth break point but then lost five games in a row as the Pole levelled the match at one set apiece.
The deciding set lasted 73 minutes, with Cornet securing the decisive break in the 11th game. During the match the world No 18 hit 41 winners. She said afterwards that the win was "not far from one of the best of my career".
She added: "It was definitely a huge battle once more. It reminds me of the fight we had last year on court in the final. That was a three-setter as well. This time I got my revenge and I am very proud of it because I was working on a lot of things on this pre-season preparation. A lot of things are working on court, so it gives me confidence for the rest of the Australian Open series."
The conditions on court were hot, though not as difficult as at the beginning of the week. Recalling her second-round match against Camilla Giorgi at the 2014 Australian Open, the 24-year-old said: "Last year in Melbourne I had one of the toughest matches of my career with the conditions. It was 43 degrees on court. After I got through that match, I thought: "I can play anywhere"."
Cornet also drew strength today from the reaction to shocking events on the other side of the world. Two days earlier 12 people were killed by terrorist gunmen in an attack on the satirical magazine "Charlie Hebdo" in Paris. Cornet said she had heard about the attack during the tie here against Australia.
"I was horrified, I was so shocked and very emotional about it," Cornet said. "These people that they killed, it is the patrimony of France, it is the people that you know so well, you have the feeling they are part of your family."
During the match against Radwanska she had a sign displayed on her racket bag that said "Je suis Charlie". The words have been used across the world in a sign of solidarity with the magazine and those who died.
Cornet said: "Twelve dead, 12 people dead, and all this violence, not only in France and Paris, but it touches the whole world and the whole of humanity and we really need to stand up."
She added: "Each time I was going to the chair I was seeing the message and it was coming to my mind. I was thinking: 'You are here, you have the chance to do what you like and play in front of this amazing crowd, so just have fun and give everything and try to win for them'."
Cornet feels in good shape as she prepares for the Australian Open. "The WTA call me the marathon woman, so it's not for nothing,"she said. "I think I deserve my nickname. I'm used to playing long matches. So I'm proud that I held up physically and that I was playing so good to the end."
Group B Tie
Alize Cornet def Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4 2-6 7-5
Jerzy Janowicz def Benoit Paire 6-4 7-6 (6)
Cornet/Paire def Radwanska/Janowicz 4-6 0-0 ret