Cornet was runner-up at a red clay event in Strasbourg in May, then at another in Bad Gastein in June she captured her first title in almost four years. Despite a second round defeat on the grass at the All-England Club, this week she saw her ranking rise to No.55 - highest since January 2010.
Then in her opener in Palermo, Cornet jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first set and 5-0 in the second en route to a 63 62 defeat of Mariana Duque-Mariño. Advancing by the same scoreline was Cornet's second round opponent, Alexandra Cadantu, over Kiki Bertens. Cadantu came into this tournament on a six-match losing streak, and in fact had not even won more than three games in a set in her previous five matches.
Irina-Camelia Begu survived a second set battle in besting No.6 seed Polona Hercog, 61 76(8). The Romanian had three set points against her in the tie-break, but eventually reeled off three straight points from 8-7 down to send Hercog to her fifth straight loss. Next up for Begu is Lourdes Domínguez Lino, a 62 64 winner over 17-year-old Yulia Putintseva.
New World No.2 Agnieszka Radwanska, who withdrew prior to the start of the event with an upper respiratory illness, expressed her regret in a statement.
"I wanted to compete in this beautiful tournament, which I played in 2007 in my first season as a pro," Radwanska said. "During Wimbledon I was not in good physical condition, and London's humidity made it worse. It was impossible for me to play in Palermo, but I hope to be here next year. The club is fantastic and has gotten more beautiful through the years."
Among those on Tuesday's schedule are top-seeded Sara Errani and fourth-seeded Anabel Medina Garrigues. The Spaniard, triumphant here in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2011, is seeking to become the only active WTA player with at least six titles at the same event.