June 29, 2014
Serena Williams was beaten by the little-known Alize Cornet to blow the women’s tournament wide open at Wimbledon.
The number one seed romped to a convincing lead by taking the first set 6-1. But 24-year-old Cornet, from Nice, never gave up and hit back to take the second set 6-3.
Williams, who suffered a shock exit to Sabine Lisicke at Wimbledon last year, lost momentum alarmingly in the final set and it seemed as if she was plagued by a sense of deja vu.
Cornet, the world number 25, took charge by breaking Williams twice and stood within a game of victory at 5-2.
But the old Williams warrior spirit returned as she broke back and then held her own serve. It looked for a moment as if Cornet might choke and allow the former champion to survive after all. Instead it was Serena who tightened under the intense pressure and Cornet’s resolve strengthened just when she needed to keep her cool.
Cornet served out for a tremendous victory and jumped for joy in front of a delighted Wimbledon crowd.
With Li Na also out of the women’s singles, anyone could take the title. Maria Sharapova, who won through with ease yesterday and took Roland Garros a few short weeks ago, must be licking her lips at the prospect of another dramatic title tilt. Eugenie Bouchard will be out to stop her and take revenge for her defeat at the hands of Sharapova in Paris.
What now for Serena? She is without a Grand Slam all year and some will start to say that the world number one’s powers are starting to fade at last.
So far this Wimbledon the women are providing all the shocks. In the men’s draw, the “Big Four” of Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are all safely through to the second week.