HOBART, Australia - No.6 seed Alizé Cornet put on a dominant display at the Hobart International to inch ahead in her rivalry with compatriot Pauline Parmentier, speeding through their second-round encounter 6-3, 6-0 in one hour and five minutes.
The pair have alternated wins ever since their first meeting in the 2012 Strasbourg semifinals, which Cornet won 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. With Parmentier taking their most recent, a 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-2 battle in the second round of Roland Garros last year, the pendulum swung emphatically back towards the younger Frenchwoman today.
Parmentier experienced the worst possible start to the match, losing the first 10 points in the blink of an eye - including a love break in which the 32-year-old dropped four consecutive forehand errors.
Though the World No.54 managed to gain a foothold in the contest with some firm, aggressive play in the fourth game, when Cornet maintained her range on her forehand it was the seeded player who controlled the flow of the match.
Both players struggled with mistakes off the ground in the first set, with their unforced errors significantly outweighing their winners, but it was Cornet who both served more efficiently and came up with occasional moments of excellence, such as the cleverly constructed combination of a dropshot, lob, off forehand and smash with which she held for 4-1 and the reflexed lob she conjured up on the way to a 5-2 lead. The 28-year-old would hold on to her early break advantage, saving the only break point she faced today in serving out the opening stanza.
Cornet went from strength to strength as the match progressed. The second set saw the 2016 champion - the only former Hobart winner left in the draw - clean up her loose mistakes and engage Parmentier in long, bruising rallies that mostly inevitably ended with the latter lapsing into error first.
Indeed, Parmentier would bury herself in 35 unforced errors to just seven winners over the course of the match, dropping serve three times in the second set while winning only five points against the Cornet delivery. It all made for one-way traffic as the former World No.11 sped to her first bagel set since her 1-6, 7-5, 6-0 defeat of Jelena Ostapenko in Cincinnati last August.
In the quarterfinals, Cornet will face qualifier Greet Minnen, who came back from 3-5 down in the deciding set to overcome Magda Linette 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(3) and make her maiden WTA quarterfinal. The 21-year-old Belgian is making her WTA main draw debut in Hobart this week, and impressed with the smooth aggression of her game.
Having notched up the first Top 100 win of her career over Katie Boulter en route to qualifying, Minnen has immediately scored two more in the main draw over Kateryna Kozlova and World No.86 Linette.