After a title-winning run in Gstaad, Switzerland, where she didn’t drop a set en route to victory last week—the third time she’s accomplished that feat in her career—the Frenchwoman appears ready once again to solidify her status as an always-dangerous opponent, despite the depth of the draw.
Based on her recent results, that’s something that wouldn’t have been expected heading into the Swiss tournament last week.
At the start of the season, Cornet posted a 4-3 record in Australia, with two wins coming in Melbourne in the first Grand Slam of the season. Post-Australia, she failed to advance to at least a quarterfinal during the spring hard-court stretch. When the tour turned to clay, it looked like her fortunes might begin to change as she reached the quarterfinals in Charleston, S.C. Cornet added one more final-eight showing on clay before Roland Garros, but like many a French player before her, she stumbled early there with the loss perhaps being more cruel as it came at the hands of a countrywoman, Pauline Parmentier.
The just-concluded grass-court stretch was disappointing, as well, with Cornet only winning one match over the course of three tournaments.
Those months of barely being able to put together wins could be partially attributed to the stress of facing a suspension after missing out-of-competition drug tests. When she was cleared, injury unfortunately crept in, further curtailing her efforts on the year.
WATCH—TC Live discusses Cornet's drug test investigation:
The world No. 34 gave a glimpse of the tennis she’s capable of playing in Gstaad. She breezed through her first two matches, then advanced over a Grand Slam champion in Samantha Stosur in the quarterfinals and a Wimbledon finalist, Eugenie Bouchard, in the semis. Mandy Minella challenged her in the final, but was unable to push the match into a decider after playing a tight tiebreak in the second set.
Cornet’s title—her first in more than two years—evens her record in championship matches to 6-6. Gstaad also marked the 10th different event where she played for the first prize.
Those numbers represent a solid career by any measure. However, for Cornet, it was expected more accolades and achievements would have come for her by now.
Pegged for greatness at an early age, Cornet captured the French Open girl’s title back in 2007. A year later, she was in the Top 20 on the adult tour and won her first title. Early in 2009, she reached her career-high ranking of No. 11 in the world, shortly after advancing to the round of 16 of a major for the first time in Australia. 2010 was a reality check for the then 20-year-old as she lost her opening match at all four Grand Slams.
Over the next few years, the one thing that could be predicted about her results was unpredictability. By 2014, Cornet pulled off one of the game’s rarest feats as she beat Serena Williams twice, with one of those victories coming at Wimbledon. Unable to build upon that, she spent the past few seasons in and out of the Top 40, while also winning a tournament and reaching the fourth round on the clay of Roland Garros and grass of the All England Club.
Now 28 years old, Cornet can gain inspiration by the performances of some of her peers on the WTA tour, who’ve played their best tennis at what might be the late stages of their careers. With a game suited for any surface, the world No. 34 has the capability to make some noise at the last Slam of the season, the US Open. Surprisingly, it’s the only major where she’s failed to make the second week.
Despite playing this week and last on clay, a smooth transition to the hard courts is well within her capabilities, though. Confidence and consistency could make this a summer stretch to remember for the Frenchwoman.
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