On Her 63rd Attempt Alize Cornet Finally Reaches A Major Quarter-Final At The Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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On Her 63rd Attempt Alize Cornet Finally Reaches A Major Quarter-Final At The Australian Open

13 years after she narrowingly missed out on a spot in the last eight, Cornet has finally broken new territory at Melbourne Park.

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA/

They say good things come to those who wait and this was the case for Alize Cornet at the Australian Open on Monday.

 

The French 32-year-old veteran made her Melbourne Park debut 16 years ago during a time when Lindsay Davenport was ranked No.1 in the world. Over the coming years Cornet would become a regular fixture in Grand Slam tennis but never made a significant breakthrough despite being ranked as high as 11th in the world over a decade ago. Nevertheless, she didn’t gave up and now she is experiencing her best-ever run at a major event.

In her 63rd Grand Slam main draw, Cornet has sealed a place in the quarter-finals at the Australian Open after ousting Simona Halep 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, in a marathon encounter that lasted two-and-a-half hours. The victory was by no means a straightforward encounter for the world No.61 who dropped her serve six times during the match. However, it would be a single break in her favor during the decider which helped her score what was a highly emotional win.

We were both fighters on the court out there, and really giving everything we had, leaving it all on the court,” said Cornet.
“It was such a drama because I was one set, one break up and I don’t know how many games I lost in a row. I finally came back in the third.’
“I was so tired I couldn’t think anymore, which was a good thing I think at the end because it just made me keep playing, keep trying and at the end I made my first quarterfinals.”

The breakthrough has been long overdue for Cornet, who was on the verge of booking her place in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open 13 years ago in 2009. On that occasion she had two match points against third seed Dinara Safina but failed to convert and ended up losing. If she had won, she would have played Jelena Dokic, who coincidentally interviewed Cornet following her win over Halep.

“I wanted to play against you so bad! I was so disappointed,” she said to Dokic during what was a heart-warming interview.
“I loved your game and I was so excited about playing a quarter-final against you and I couldn’t and it was really painful.”

Some may wonder why it has taken Cornet so long to achieve one of her career goals. She has scored a total of 23 wins over top 10 players with the most recent of those being against Garbine Muguruza last week. She is contesting her 60th consecutive Grand Slam main draw which is the third longest streak in the history of women’s tennis.

“After 16 years on the tour, I never give up. Today I realized this goal that was very important to me for a while,” she said.
“I don’t know what happened in the past, and really, honestly, right now I don’t care.”

Should Cornet play the three remaining Grand Slams this season she would overtake Ai Sugiyama’s record of 62 straight appearances. In a recent interview with The New York Times she hinted that this could be the perfect way for her to end her career. She also told reporters that this season is ‘probably‘ her last.

However, given her win over Halep in Melbourne could there be a change of heart over the coming months?

“I told myself that this could be my last season. I don’t know if it’s helping (my game), I don’t know if it’s just the work that is paying out. When I’m on the court I feel good. I feel good outside the court and I feel good on the court,” she stated.

Becoming the first Frenchwoman to reach an Australian Open quarter-final in more than a decade, Cornet will next play Danielle Collins.

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REPORT: French Open Qualifying Match Under Investigation Over Irregular Betting Patterns

An unusual number of bets were placed on the match in three different countries.

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A first round match at this week’s French Open qualifying tournament is being looked into after an abnormally high number of bets was placed, according to a leading French newspaper.

 

L’Equipe have cited police sources saying that the clash between eighth seed Bernabé Zapata Miralles and Dudi Sela has flagged up irregular patterns. Miralles defeated his Israeli rival 6-3, 6-0, in less than an hour. It is understood that the focus of the investigation is on the second set which lasted less than 20 minutes. A total of 32 points was placed in that set with Sela only winning seven of those.

According to the source, an unusually high number of bets were placed on the match in three different countries – Cyprus, Ukraine and Armenia. Prompting judicial authorities to look into the possibility that the match could have been fixed but at present no formal investigation has been confirmed.

“There is no business,” the French Tennis Federation (FFT) was quoted by Le Parisien as saying on the matter.

37-year-old Sela is currently ranked outside the world’s top 400 but managed to get into the qualifying draw with the use of a protected ranking. He has only played in two singles tournaments so far this season with the other being at the Australian Open where he also lost in the first round of qualifying.

Sela confirmed in January that 2022 would be his last as a professional. A former top 30 player, he has reached the final of two ATP events in China (2008) and Atlanta (2014). He also reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2009 and has beaten three top 10 players during his career.

Meanwhile, Miralles sealed his place in the French Open main draw on Thursday after coming from a set down to beat Luca Nardi 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

There is currently no evidence to suggest that either player has been involved in match-fixing. According to statistics from L’Equipe, there has been a 177% increase in online bets concerning the French Open over a five-year period to 128M euros in 2021.

This year players who lose in the first round of qualifying at the French Open will earn €14,000, which is a 40% increase on 2021.

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“Healthy Mind In A Healthy Body”: Asics To Include Psychological Support In Sponsored Players’ Contracts

Matteo Berrettini and Iga Swiatek are among those who will benefit from the help of mental health experts

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Iga Swiatek - Roma 2022 (foto Roberto dell'Olivo)

by Andrea Mastronuzzi, translated by Massimo Volpati

The more the years pass, the more professional sport assumes the contours of a job like many others (certainly more profitable, but in some ways even more stressful), and the more officials realise how essential it is to be able to count on mental coaches or psychologists. Both to withstand external pressures and to achieve one’s goals and therefore endure another type of pressure, which comes from one’s inner self. 

 

Tennis players increasingly talk about their difficulties in terms of mental strength and underline the crucial role played by the psychologists who support them: From women’s world No.1 Iga Swiatek (she also spoke about it in the press conference after her victory over Andreescu in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open) to Denis Shapovalov, Alex de Minaur and Naomi Osaka. The new queen of women’s tennis, signed up by ASICS, will be able to take full benefit from psychological support provided by the Japanese company.

It is no coincidence that ASICS is the first sponsor to include this aid in the partnership agreements it has entered into with its tennis players. The company name is in fact the acronym of a variant of the famous Latin phrase “mens (which becomes anima) sana in corpore sano”, namely “healthy mind in healthy body.” The brand collaborated with some researchers from Kings College London on the realisation of a study (“State of Mind”) which allowed to identify a positive link between tennis and mental health. In the wake of these results, ASICS has set up a facility in Paris where fans are offered the opportunity to play tennis and deal with their psychological state at the same time.

In addition to its initiatives centred on mental health, ASICS has kicked off a mental health support project involving their sponsored professional tennis players. Among these there are Matteo Berrettini, David Goffin and de Minaur. Everyone will rely on a team of experts made available by the Japanese brand and led by Daria Abramovicz (who spoke with ubitennis.net last year) who has been working with Swiatek for some time. The young psychologist said that “by offering confidential support, it is possible to help normalize what is normal and assist players along their journey towards a healthy mind in a healthy body”.

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Richard Gasquet upsets Danil Medvedev in Geneva

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Richard Gasquet upset Danil Medvedev 6-2 7-6 (7-5) with three breaks of serve in 90 minutes to reach the second round at the Gonet Geneva Open. 

 

Gasquet scored his first win over an opponent ranked in the top 2 since he beat world number 1 Roger Federer at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters 2005. 

Medvedev had beaten Gasquet in their only previous head-to-head match at the 2021 US Open en route to his first Grand Slam title. 

Medvedev was playing his first match since Miami in March after undegoing hernia surgery.

Gasquet won six consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set and built up a 6-2 2-0 lead.  

Medveved dropped his serve after three double faults with three double faults. The Russian player broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3 and held serve at love with an ace. 

Medvedev recovered from a mini-break down in the tie-break. Gasquet earned his third mini-break to win the tie-break 7-5. 

The Frenchman will face Kamil Majchrzak, who cruised past Marco Cecchinato 6-2 6-3.

Thanasi Kokkinakis earned his first win on clay in seven years with a 6-4 6-3 win over Fabio Fognini in 1 hour and 28 minutes. 

Kokkinakis went up a break to take a 4-1 lead. Fognini broke back in the seventh game to draw level to 4-4.  Kokkinakis broke serve at love in the tenth game to claim the first set 6-4. 

Fognini made two double faults and missed three game points before dropping serve in the second game of the second set. Kokkinakis did not face any break points in his remaining four service games. 

Christopher O’Connell edged past Albert Ramos Vinolas 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to set up a second round match against Reilly Opelka. 

Paulo Sousa cruised past 2021 semifinalist Pablo Andujar 6-1 6-4. Sousa will face Nikoloz Basilashvili, who was leading 6-4 before Facundo Bagnis retired from the match.

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