CINCINNATI, OH, USA - For the second match in a row, Jelena Ostapenko saw a set lead disappear as Alize Cornet completed a stunning turnaround to dispatch the No.11 seed in the opening round of the Western & Southern Open.
Cornet came into the tournament building on a recent stretch of good results, which include winning her sixth career title in Gstaad and reaching the third round in Montreal - defeating Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber along the way.
As a result, Cornet had to come through the qualifying rounds despite being ranked World No.33, and she came into the matchup against Ostapenko battle tested. She carried her momentum all the way to a 1-6, 7-5, 6-0 victory, handing the Latvian her eighth first-round loss of the year.
“I just kept fighting and fighting and fighting,” Cornet said in her on-court interview. “She was killing me in that first set, I didn’t see any balls. She was doing winners over winners, and I was just trying to be here and just put the ball in the court.
“I think I put a little bit more intensity in my shots, and finally I turned the match around. I don’t know how. The third set was also a battle, but I think she was a little bit down to have lost the second set. So I’m just glad to be through to the second round.”
Cornet did well to put a disappointing opening set behind her; she was unable to convert on her only two break point chances as Ostapenko fired winners off both wings, breaking the Frenchwoman three times to run away with the set.
She opened the second with her first break of the match, building up a 4-2 lead and defending it against Ostapenko’s all-out attack - the pair traded breaks twice as Ostapenko fought her way back into the set, but Cornet edged through to send them into a decider.
Seeing the match slip away from her grasp seemed to deflate the Latvian, and Ostapenko’s unforced errors count grew - along with Cornet’s confidence. The Frenchwoman reeled off the last six games in a row to take the match in emphatic style after two hours and three minutes.
Up next, Cornet will take on either a fellow qualifier in Ana Bogdan or dangerous floater Ekaterina Makarova in the next round.