LYON, France - The first of three Frenchwomen in the Top 8 seeds to take the court at the Open 6ème Sens - Métropole de Lyon made a winning start on Monday.
No.4 seed Alizé Cornet battled through a tight opening set and then cruised through to the finish in a 7-5, 6-0 victory over German qualifier Antonia Lottner.
The World No.58, who sits behind No.2 seed Kristina Mladenovic and No.3 seed Caroline Garcia as one of seven French players in the main draw, won the last seven games of the match to earn the one hour and 18-minute victory.
"I'm happy that I'm through, and that I'm through in two sets. The match almost turned around in the first set," Cornet said on-court after the match.
"To win in two sets, that's very positive. I'm just happy to still be in the tournament, and hope to do even better in the next round."
A fabulous second set from @Alizecornet!— WTA (@WTA) March 2, 2020
Beats Lottner 7-5, 6-0!#Open6emeSensML pic.twitter.com/z9wJNoVfGD
Cornet raced out of the gates against the 23-year-old German, as she lost just four points overall and held serve to love twice. However, the qualifier found her feet from then on, getting both breaks back, as she won four games of her own to level the set at 4-4.
"I was 4-0 up really quickly, and played really well. Somehow, I lost a little bit of rhythm. Antonia was playing a little bit better, and she was hitting very hard," Cornet added.
"I kind of fell asleep on the court, I was moving less well, and it turned out that the first set was very tight. I'm happy to have gotten this one, because in the second set, I was much more relaxed and played better.
Nonetheless, Cornet managed to stay ahead thanks to some clutch serving - racking up a dozen aces overall in the match - and earned the decisive break to win the opener in the last game.
At 5-5, the French No.3 battled through a tough hold of serve, being taken to deuce twice as the World No.162 pressured to take her first lead, and wrapped up the first set in just short of 50 minutes.
Fabulous start by @Alizecornet !#Open6emeSensML pic.twitter.com/Q1PAxLmedH— WTA (@WTA) March 2, 2020
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Buoyed by her momentum, Cornet again went off to the races to begin the second set, winning the first two games to 15. Ultimately, the 30-year-old won the tightest game of the match to extend her lead to 3-0 - a four-deuce battle in which she saved two break points - and never looked back from there.
Up next, Cornet will face either Belarus' Vera Lapko or Italy's Camila Giorgi, who will play their first round match on Tuesday.
"I've had big battles against Camila Giorgi, but I also had a tough one against Lapko last year in Miami," Cornet said. "It's going to be against the same type of player - someone who hits very hard - and indoors, this kind of game usually works because this surface is quite fast.
"I will try and be a little bit better in the second round, to be more reactive with my legs, and just to try my best. That's what it's all about."
Down the line from @alizecornet !#Open6emeSensML pic.twitter.com/Ex9o8jBYTc— WTA (@WTA) March 2, 2020
Also advancing into the second round was No.5 seed Alison van Uytvanck, who surrendered just four games to Poland's Katarzyna Kawa, 6-1, 6-3, and a pair of Romanian qualifiers in Jaqueline Cristian and Irina Bara.
Cristian dropped just two games in defeating Aussie Priscilla Hon, 6-2, 6-0, while Bara needed nearly three hours to overcome Hungary's Timea Babos after being unable to serve out the match in the second set, 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-4.