Thursday, April 5, 2018

Top seed Caroline Garcia upset by Alize Cornet at Volvo Car Open

photo by Daniel Ward
Top seed Caroline Garcia was taken out of the Volvo Car Open in the third round tonight in Charleston when an inspired Alize Cornet used all of the guile, athleticism and fight that she possesses, but that we don't always get to see, given her challenges in the mental toughness department. When Cornet does get into that zone, she becomes a one-woman tennis extravaganza, and she was in full flight tonight against her friend and countrywoman.

Midway through the first set, Cornet took control, and it appeared she was headed toward taking it, but Garcia grabbed control back and won the set 7-5. I'm sure many fans thought that the top seed would then wrap things up, but Cornet (whom a colleague referred to as "a human headache") was just getting started. When she got to 5-0 in the second set, it was clear that her momentum was still with her.

She won that set 6-1, then broke Garcia to begin the third set. 
Garcia broke back, and--the way this script usually goes is that "things get put right." Cornet would have none of it, and broke Garcia right back. Finally, she wore the top seed down, and even though Garcia managed to hold at 3-5, Cornet didn't waver in winning the set 6-4 and advancing to the quarterfinals.

Cornet's forehand was on fire tonight, and for a good part of the match, Garcia couldn't seem to stay away from it. Garcia also did herself no favors by making repeated errors throughout the match.

Caroline Garcia (photo by Daniel Ward)

Ten years ago, when Cornet was only 18, she came to Charleston to what was then the Family Circle Cup, and impressed fans with her athleticism and fighting spirit. She leapt and finessed her way to the semifinals, in which she lost a very respectable match to eventual champion Serena Williams.

7th seed Madison Keys also advanced to the quarterfinals of the Volvo Car Open today when she defeated Camila Giorgi 6-4, 6-3 this afternoon. Keys was a finalist at the event in 2015.

Also winning this afternoon was 12th seed Kiki Bertens, who defeated an injured Fanny Stollar in straight sets. And Kristyna Pliskova, who upset 2nd seed Petra Kvitova yesterday, defeated two-time finalist Elena Vesnina 6-3, 1-6, 6-2.

l. to r.: Kristyna Pliskova, Madison Keys, Kiki Bertens--all photos by Daniel Ward

The first match tomorrow will feature close friends Julia Goerges, seeded 5th, and defending champion and 3rd seed Daria Kasatkina. In her press conference today, Goerges described the young Russian as one of her best friends on the tour. Goerges defeated Kasatkina last year in the Kremlin Cup final.

Here is the quarterfinal singles draw:

Alize Cornet (14) vs. Kiki Bertens (12)
Bernarda Pera vs. Madison Keys (7)
Julia Goerges (5) vs. Daria Kasatkina (3)
Anastaija Sevastova (8) vs. Kristyna Pliskova

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