Revivals Of 2014: Alizé Cornet
Published April 14, 2014 12:13
In light of her track record, Alizé Cornet was never going to do it the easy way. And so it proved on Sunday afternoon, as the Frenchwoman drew on all her reserves of endurance and mental fortitude to overcome Camila Giorgi - and a match point - to win the fourth WTA title of her career.
Cornet's 76(3) 57 75 triumph at the BNP Paribas Katowice Open gave a silver sheen to an impressive start to the campaign and her highest ranking since 2009.
That year, she climbed to No.11 before a combination of injury and loss of form derailed her progress, eventually seeing her drop out of the Top 100 altogether. Victory in Bad Gastein two summers ago began the recovery, which has been gathering increasing momentum ever since.
Cornet's game has matured since her teenage breakthrough and at 24 she now feels better equipped to handle life at the top.
"I think for the last year I've been playing quite well again," Cornet said. "I was playing great when I was 18, 19 years old, but I was a newcomer, nobody knew me, and it was a little bit of a surprise effect.
"Now I'm like more mature, and I have more experience, so my tennis is different. I think it's even better than before, but now I'm playing more with my experience and it's a completely different career for me. I'm just happy to be back at this level, because it was tough when I dropped in the rankings."
And this talk of improvement is anything but empty rhetoric.
In the past few months, Cornet has scored wins over two of the game's leading lights, overcoming the mighty Serena Williams in Dubai and then Agnieszka Radwanska in Katowice. The results are all the more impressive considering the fact that before Dubai she had lost all 17 of her encounters with members of the Top 4.
According to Cornet, the secret behind this change in fortune against the game's best comes down to the simple matter of belief.
"I just kept working. I had a good off-season. I think I improved my game, I improved my physical condition. Nothing changed really. Maybe my mentality a little bit more - I believe more in myself. I trust myself more.
"And so at the end of the match, when I have to finish the match, I'm less nervous, because I trust myself more, and that changes a lot of things.
"But now I found the key, you know, I really hope to stay at this level for many years to come."