Sharapova Clinches Round Three Over Cornet
Posted by Rudy Martinez on Jan 18, 2014 - 10:07:17 AM
MELBOURNE—With the heat out of the picture on day six of the Australian Open, the only competition left on the court was
France’s Alize Cornet who challenged Maria Sharapova in the second set only to fall in the tiebreaker. Sharapova battled back to win 7-6 in the second to win straight sets in round three.
Cornet, well known for bending her knees on the return, began the first set with problems to her racket to barely edge out a game over her competitor. The third seeded Russian came out of the gates blowing her opponent out of the water with a four-game streak in the first set. It came to an end with Cornet making two backhander volleys in front of the net that not even the best in the world could counter. Winning the single game in the first set didn’t stop Sharapova from closing it out in 32 minutes, winning more than 80 percent of points.
The second saw Cornet finding her strength to give Sharapova a stronger showing as she caught her off guard in game one and came back from a 0-40 position to steal game two. “It’s never over until the last point is finished,” said Sharapova, who is known for her quick aggressive match play to end her opponents quickly.
The tenth game saw the French native evening up with Sharapova, making two double faults while Cornet and her ability to bend into strange positions made returns count to put her top seeded adversary on the ropes. With Cornet and Sharapova tied at six games each in the second set, a rule called the “twelve-point tiebreaker” came into effect where one player must reach seven points and go two ahead to break the tie and eventually win the set or match.
With the set going twice as long as the first, Sharapova dealt with Cornet’s tenacity to keep up, but edged ahead 8-6 to win the match. “She (Cornet) started playing better once I gave her those few little chances,” she told the crowd during a post-game interview. “I definitely need to step it up because it only gets tougher from here, and it’s never an easy road, and I was lucky enough to get through the other day.”
Temperatures dropped 40 degrees between rounds two and three making it much easier to play tennis. “I may need to take a hot bath tonight instead of a cool one,” Sharapova joked. “It’s such a quick change, but I think it’s really welcome for all of us.”