Alize Cornet began her Australian Open campaign with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Chinese wild card Xinyu Wang. The Frenchwoman will face one of the in-form players at the moment, 12th seed Julia Goerges, in the second round.
Cornet edges the first set
It looked to be a good start for the server as each woman held comfortably twice. The first breakthrough came in the fifth game with Cornet holding a 15-40 edge. The Chinese gifted her the break with an untimely double fault for a 3-2 lead.
Cornet further strengthened her grip on the set with a second break. A delicate drop shot drew Wang in and the wild card overhit her backhand to seemingly seal the set at 5-2.
Credit to Wang as she mounted a comeback with a break and a hold to draw within 5-4, putting the pressure on Cornet. The Frenchwoman served for the set and facing 30-30, produced a brilliant forehand winner and a strong serve to close it out.
Strong set propels Frenchwoman to victory
Carrying the momentum from the end of the opening set, Cornet broke immediately to open the second set and after a quick hold, held a 15-40 lead on Wang's serve again, the Chinese dumping a backhand into the net for a double break.
After a quick hold, she threatened again on Wang's serve, but the wild card this time fended off all three chances to finally register a game. At 5-2, Cornet served for the match, her serve tested for the first time. Facing four break points, the Frenchwoman saved them all and on match point, Wang's forehand error sent Cornet into the next round.
This was never a match that Cornet looked like losing, but she avoided the usual drama she brings to the court. Against Goerges, she'll have to take advantage of chances she gets on the German's serve while trying to keep her off-balance with her own bag of tricks.
Wang is a payer the Chinese are looking towards the future at. She's tall, but could use a bit more power on her shots. Still, she got some experience being granted a wild card into the tournament and that will serve her well going forward.