UPDATE: On Thursday, Cornet lost to Zhang Shuai, 6-4, 7-6 (3), in the second round.
It hurts ????... But I played my heart out and I guess I'm still learning. Grateful for everything ????— Alize Cornet (@alizecornet) October 1, 2020
Ça fait mal ????... Mais j'ai joué avec mes tripes et j'espère apprendre de cette défaite.
Merci Paris ????@rolandgarros pic.twitter.com/wPlQLRCnJG
She’s won six WTA singles titles. She’s been as high as No. 11 in the world. She’s beaten Serena Williams on three occasions. And this week in Paris, she’s playing in her 55th consecutive Grand Slam tournament (58th overall).
Yet, somehow, Alize Cornet has yet to reach a quarterfinal at a major.
"It's a miracle that the streak is going on for 55 times,” the Frenchwoman told press after her first-round win over Chloe Paquet. “I mean, I cannot believe it.
"I feel kind of old with this record, but in the same time I don't know if I see myself playing two whole more years, so I cannot tell you if I might break the record, but we'll see."
The 30-year-old, who turned pro in 2006, has come close to getting over the hump numerous times. She has reached the fourth round twice in Paris, and once each at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. She had previously reached the third round four times in New York before finally overcoming that hurdle in September. But Cornet would lose to Tsvetana Pironkova, an unranked player who was playing her first event in more than three years.
"I'll try to enjoy the fact that I'm finally reaching the fourth round here," Cornet told press at the US Open. "It's been something I've been looking for [since] I don't know when."
So what are her chances of cracking the quarterfinal code at Roland Garros?
Cornet is set to face Zhang Shuai on Thursday for a spot in the third round. Sitting at No. 39 in the WTA rankings, the Chinese player is ranked 13 spots higher than Cornet, but the Frenchwoman leads their overall head-to-head, 4-2. Should she prevail, she will play the winner of the Kaja Juvan vs. Clara Burel match. It would be her first time playing either player.
Should she pass the test, there’s a good chance No. 7 seed Petra Kvitova will be waiting on the other side of the net. If that matchup does indeed come to fruition, the 30-year old will have her work cut out for her, having lost to the two-time Wimbledon champion in both their two previous matches.
If Cornet is to make the final eight at a major, she'll certainly have earned it, and paid her dues in the process.