Alize Cornet defeated Iga Swiatek 6-4, 6-2 in the third round of Wimbledon, ending the World No.1's win streak at 37 matches. The victory puts the 32-year-old Frenchwoman into the Round of 16 at Wimbledon for the first time since 2014.
Cornet's victory over Swiatek is her first complete match-win over a reigning World No.1 since notching a similar result in the third round of Wimbledon eight years ago. Then, Cornet stunned No.1 Serena Williams 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 to advance to her first Round of 16 at The Championships.
"It's a big pride for me to win this match against Iga," Cornet said after the win. "I mean, what she's done this year is out of this world, and I can't believe I'm the one that actually broke the streak. This is amazing. I'm very happy to be in the second week again for the second time."
In January, Cornet reached a career milestone by defeating former No.1 Simona Halep to advance to her first major quarterfinal at the Australian Open. In the first round, Cornet tied the women's record for most consecutive Grand Slams played, matching Ai Sugiyama's mark of 62.
Confident Cornet: The Frenchwoman had good reason to believe she could be the one to stop Swiatek. Cornet came into Wimbledon off a semifinal run in Bad Homburg, where lost in three tight sets to eventual champion Caroline Garcia. She ousted No.27 seed Yulia Putintseva in straight sets in the first round.
Though Swiatek had looked unbeatable on hard courts and clay, the 21-year-old had been open about her learning curve on grass. She battled hard in the second round to defeat lucky loser Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. With her loss to Cornet, Swiatek still has yet to beat a Top 50 player on grass.
How the match was won: Cornet played a clean, veteran match to unwind Swiatek's power game. Cornet jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to two early breaks and held Swiatek off from there. Swiatek was able to get on the board by breaking Cornet in a long fourth game, but Cornet's insurance break proved its worth. Across the 51-minute opening set, Cornet made just five unforced errors, while Swiatek misfired on 17.
Swiatek looked primed for one of her trademark comebacks in the second set, as she broke early for a 2-0 lead. But the Pole's game never clicked in. Unable to clean up her unforced errors, Swiatek immediately ceded back her break advantage and Cornet ran away with the set from there, winning the last six games of the 93-minute match.
Cornet finished the match with 17 winners to just seven unforced errors. Swiatek fired 21 winners and 33 unforced errors.
Swiatek breaks it down: "Usually I am hard on myself," Swiatek said after the loss. "Here, I know how I felt before matches, I know how I felt when I was practicing. Let's just say that I didn't feel like I'm in a best shape. So I'm kind of aware that this could happen. Maybe it's not the right attitude to have, but it is like it is.
"I tried many things to feel better on court, on grass court, but it didn't really work out. That's why I'm not even hard on myself because, like, it's kind of logic that if I couldn't find it even on practices, I'm not going to find it on a match."
Cornet soaking it all in: In January, Cornet told reporters this may be her final season. Does the fact she's enjoying one of the best Slam seasons of her career change her mind?
"No," Cornet said. "I think that's why I'm playing so good, it's because I know it's almost the end. I'm giving everything. I might just play till Roland Garros next year. That's the plan. But, no, I'm not considering getting back on this decision. We'll talk about it next year, see which position mentally I'm in.
"I just want to take it match by match. Early when I was walking to Court 1, I was smiling because, 'OK, that might be the last time I'm walking to Court No. 1, so please just enjoy yourself, have fun, take all the good energy.'"
Martic rides wave of upsets to beat Pegula; Rybakina advances
No.80 Petra Martic advanced to her third Round of 16 at Wimbledon, defeating No.8 seed Jessica Pegula 6-2, 7-6(5). The win was Martic's second over a seeded player this week, having ousted No.30 seed Shelby Rogers in the first round.
Having come into Wimbledon looking to snap a four-match losing streak, Martic's win over Pegula is her second Top 10 win of the year. The 31-year-old Croatian also beat Anett Kontaveit in Rome.
Martic will take on No.17 seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan in the Round of 16, after Rybakina edged Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen 7-6(4), 7-5 in 1 hour and 50 minutes.
The 52nd-ranked Zheng was the only player to take a set off of Swiatek during the World No.1’s title run at Roland Garros, and she pushed Rybakina to the limit as she attempted to make the fourth round at a second Grand Slam in a row.
However, this season’s ace leader Rybakina held firm to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon for the second straight year. Rybakina converted three of her four break points while erasing six of the eight break points she faced.
Rybakina hit 16 aces in her first two matches this week to take her season total to a tour-leading 184. Rybakina relied on that shot once again on Saturday, firing seven aces against Zheng, most importantly on her first match point.
In their only prior meeting, Rybakina squeaked past Martic in two tiebreak sets in the 2020 Dubai semifinals.