French Open: Alize Cornet outfoxes Agnieszka Radwanska to reach the second week in Paris

The first Saturday of the French Open has arrived. Alize Cornet opened proceedings on Court Philippe Chatrier with ninth seed Agnieszka Radwanska. Furthermore, the former world number 11 had only beaten Radwanska once in their previous eight meetings. Nevertheless, the former world number 11, portrayed consistent clay court tennis to upset the world number two. Radwanska would have been bitterly disappointed to have lost in the third round but she can prepare for the grass court season, where she will be one of the favorites to win Wimbledon. The Pole struggled to get a stranglehold on this match, and she failed to hold serve. 

Cornet will play her compatriot 28th seed Caroline Garcia or Su-Wei Hsieh for a place in the quarterfinals.

Cornet races through the opening set

The erratic world 43rd ranked player in the world, who wears her heart on her sleeve got off to a flying start. Cornet held her first service game with ease. Cornet applied pressure on Radwanska's serve with a forehand return winner down the line with intent, and a sweet drop shot winner in a lengthy rally. The Pole managed to win a point on her serve but the Frenchwoman produced a passing shot down the line to gain her first break point, and she converted it with Radwanska's tame backhand sailing in the net.

However, Cornet was unable to consolidate the break as the former world number two broke back immediately with Cornet committing two unforced errors, and she saved two of them but couldn't save the final one by committing a backhand unforced error in the net.

It looked increasingly likely that the Pole would restore parity at 2-2 as she raced out to a 40-0 lead. However, Cornet continued to apply more pressure on the former world number two's serve with a backhand winner, a forehand winner down the line, and she came to the net to finish off the point with a volley to get the game to deuce. Nevertheless, Cornet restored her break advantage to lead 3-1.

Once again, the unseeded Frenchwoman was unable to consolidate the break with Radwanska breaking her serve. Moreover, Cornet seemed to play inspired tennis, when she was returning the ninth seed's serve. She continued to win points with scintillating backhand winners down the line and playing Radwanska at her own game with drop shot winners. Once more, the ninth seed was unable to hold serve as Cornet broke to lead 4-2.

It was a bad day at the office for Radwanska who will now prepare for Wimbledon (Photo by Francois Xavier Marit / Getty)
It was a bad day at the office for Radwanska who will now prepare for Wimbledon (Photo by Francois Xavier Marit / Getty)

The Pole was rushing the points as she couldn't find a way to break down Cornet. However, Cornet wasn't allowing Radwanska to dictate play as she took the game to Radwanska and she was able to consolidate the break with a healthy 5-2 advantage.

Radwanska was serving to stay in the opening set, and she had a comfortable 30-0 lead, however, she committed an unforced error, and Cornet continued to boss the rallies. The Pole committed a double fault which gave Cornet her first set point, and she converted it at the first time of asking with Radwanska's backhand continuing to break down.

Cornet cruises into the second week in Paris for the second time

The pendulum looked to be swinging as the ninth seed broke Cornet in the opening game of the second set. Little did Radwanska know, that would be her final game, that she would claim in the match.

The 2013 French Open quarterfinalist held a game point but she missed a sitter with a good serve, and her forehand sailed long. Cornet continued to come forward, and she created her first break back point with a scintillating backhand crosscourt winner. The Frenchwoman eventually created two more break points by virtue of Radwanska's forehand continuing to spray unforced errors. Cornet broke back with a sliced backhand winner down the line.

Cornet consolidated the break, and she continued to produce repeated drop shots to affect, which frustrated the Pole. The 27-year-old broke Radwanska's serve once again to lead 3-1. Cornet consolidated the break with a helping hand from the ninth seed's forehand breaking down.

The Frenchwoman's drop shots and backhands were on point today (Photo by Francois Xavier Marit / Getty)
The Frenchwoman's drop shots and backhands were on point today (Photo by Francois Xavier Marit / Getty)

The alarm bells were ringing for Radwanska as Cornet's high level of play continued with backhand winners, and she broke Radwanska's serve with a drop shot winner for a double break to lead 5-1.

Radwanska didn't give up as she managed to get the final game of the match to 30-30. Furthermore, Cornet created her first match point with a good serve, forcing the error from the Pole. The world number 43's drop shot failed to sail over the net as Radwanska saved the first match point. Another one quickly followed, and Cornet upset the ninth-seeded Pole, 6-2, 6-1 in just one hour and 19 minutes.

By the numbers

Cornet was better than Radwanska in the serving department as she won 64 percent of the points on her first serve, whilst Radwanska only won 37 percent of the points on her. The unseeded Frenchwoman had great success coming to the net, winning 71 percent of the points on the net, whilst Radwanska only won 41 percent. Cornet broke Radwanska's serve seven times, and Radwanska only broke Cornet's serve on three occasions. The former top 15 player produced 31 winners and committed 23 unforced errors. Whilst, the former world number two only hit ten winners and committed 19 unforced errors.