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First Slam QF achieved, Cornet dreams a new dream: “For the first time in my life, I really believe I can go till the end”

Playing in her 60th consecutive Grand Slam, France’s Alize Cornet upsets Simona Halep to set up a quarter-final clash with Danielle Collins

January 22, 2022 France's Alize Cornet at the 2022 Australian Open January 22, 2022 France’s Alize Cornet at the 2022 Australian Open Image Credit: AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Australian Open 2022 | Draw Order of play 

Alize Cornet has had a remarkable career. Six WTA singles titles, a peak ranking of No 11, winning the Fed Cup and Hopman Cup for France, and earning over $8.2 million in prize money.

The Frenchwoman, who turned 32 years old during the first weekend of the 2022 Australian Open, is competing in her 60th consecutive Grand Slam Slam this fortnight and is chasing the all-time record currently held by Japan’s Ai Sugiyama with 62. She is also among the select group of players to beat Serena Williams three times in one year (2014).

But for all the success she has enjoyed, Cornet’s resume has lacked a breakthrough result at a Grand Slam. And she seems to be determined to set that straight before she hangs up her racquet, which may happen at the end of the 2022 season.

“I’ve been waiting for it for a long, long time” – Alize Cornet

On Monday, Alize Cornet upset former world No 1 and two-time Major winner Simona Halep 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to reach her first career Grand Slam quarter-final. It has taken Cornet 63 Grand Slams to get this far in a Major and also improved her record against Halep to 4-1.

“It does feel really good. I couldn’t stop crying after my match when I realized after the match point that I made it. I was very emotional, and I didn’t know it would feel so good. I think it will feel really good for the next couple of days till I have to get ready for my next match. But I really want to enjoy this moment, because I’ve been waiting for it for a long, long time,” Cornet said about reaching her first Grand Slam quarter-final.

In a match that was peppered with long rallies that saw both players run each other ragged, it was Halep who ended up winning more points – 93 to 88 for Cornet. After trailing 6-3, 3-1, Halep won five games in a row to put herself back on contention. But the Frenchwoman was able to win the points that mattered in the deciding set to claim the victory in two hours and 33 minutes.

“For the first time of my life, I really believe I can go till the end.”

Alize Cornet

Having reached the last eight, Cornet is is no mood to back off now and said she is hungry for more.

“Going further,” the Frenchwoman responded when asked about her next goals. “I mean, I’m not gonna stop now. I’m still ambitious. I just have to soak it in, like, you know, take time to appreciate the moment and be proud of what I did today. But definitely from tomorrow I will have to think about my next match and how I can go farther in the tournament. The sky’s the limit. I mean, I really want to be ambitious on this slam. For the first time in my life, I really believe I can go till the end. I think that’s what makes a difference.”

“I’m intense too but I think she’s next-level intense.” – Cornet looks ahead to Collins clash

Cornet will next meet the American Danielle Collins, who knocked out Belgium’s Elise Mertens 4-6, 6-4. 6-4 in two hours and 51 minutes earlier on Monday. The Frenchwoman knows she will have another battle on her hands on on Wednesday against a player that she described as “a lion”.

“I see how she is on the court. She’s like a lion. Oh, my God, she impresses me a little bit because she’s like so intense, I’m intense too but I think she’s next-level intense.”

When she does take to the court on Wednesday, Cornet will have at least one more supporter in Halep, who said she hopes Cornet’s dream comes true.

“I have only nice words about her, because I like her on court, how she’s fighting. She deserves what is happening to her now. She work hard all the time, and I wish her good luck. I really want her to make this dream coming true. I will support her.”

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