LAUSANNE, Switzerland - Alizé Cornet is on a Swiss roll: the No.3 seed at the Ladies Open Lausanne won this event when it was held in Gstaad last year, and kicked off her title defence with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Martina Trevisan in one hour and 39 minutes today.
Afterwards, the Frenchwoman acknowledged that, despite the change of location, she was still enjoying herself: "[Gstaad] was a very special tournament, but... [Lausanne] feels a bit like home, like a family tournament," she said approvingly. Cornet admitted that she was feeling a bit fatigued - "I didn't have much time to rest after Wimbledon; I was still on grass a week ago and I didn't have any days off at home, and I think I'm paying for it now" - but swore to fight as hard as possible this week: "I'll push as hard as I can and try my best," she declared.
The 29-year-old World No.48 had to come through a tightly contested opening passage of play in which she showed vocal frustration against Trevisan, but utilized all of her signature battling qualities and variety to pull away and set up a second-round date against another Italian, qualifier Jasmine Paolini.
World No.151 Trevisan, who gained her first WTA main draw victory over Nadiia Kichenok in Charleston in April, impressed in the early stages of the match when she had the chance to dictate proceedings with her forehand, which proved to be a useful finishing shot as well. But after an exchange of breaks in which both players conceded their serves on a double fault, it was Cornet who demonstrated more facets and greater consistency in her game.
Balancing offence and defence superbly, the former World No.11 kept Trevisan on her toes with injections of pace on her backhand wing and a relentless series of dropshots on the forehand side which nearly always caught the 25-year-old out. A backhand return winner sealed the crucial break for Cornet, who would win four of the last five games of the first set from 2-3 down.
In the face of Cornet's hustle, Trevisan's ultra-aggressive strategy began to fall apart as a cascade of unforced errors poured off the left-hander's racquet. With Cornet cheerfully chucking in a dropshot every few points, Trevisan swiftly fell behind a double break for 1-4 in the second set.
Matters would not continue to be so simple for Cornet, who finally went to the dropshot well once too often in the fifth game - enabling Trevisan to regain one of the breaks by putting away a straightforward forehand winner. With a foothold in the match, the rejuvenated Italian began to hit her spots again as she resumed her early ballstriking panache. Serving to stay in the match, Trevisan would save two match points with bold smashes - and ultimately, Cornet would need to summon up her second ace of the day to move through this opening test on her fifth match point.