Cornet Worried: ‘I Hear A Big Crack In My Hip’

Alizé Cornet (photo: Internationaux de Strasbourg video)

STRASBOURG/WASHINGTON, May 26, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

“I hear a big crack in my hip,” Alizé Cornet explained to Tennis TourTalk, the only English-as-a-first-language media to speak with the grand dame of French tennis, after she retired in pain from her second-round match against No. 8 seed Magda Linette of Poland at the WTA 250 Internationaux de Strasbourg Tuesday evening. The No. 65 Cornet trailed 7-6 (2), 3-0 at the time that she declared “pas plus.”

Cornet is nothing if not candid – and honest – in her conversations with reporters, whether speaking in English as she did with Tennis TourTalk or in her native French with a handful of reporters shortly after her retirement – especially on the eve of her home country’s Grand Slam, the French Open. The 31-year-old Cornet, from Nice, had a lot to say. Talking to reporters, it seemed, was like a therapy session for her:

“I felt a really sudden pain in the first game of the match. It’s really unlucky. It was about the third or fourth point of the first game … after that it was really painful to walk. You know me, I’ll keep playing. I kept trying and I was in position to win the [first] set. But every time I was running, it was quite difficult. In the second set, it got a little bit worse. I told myself, ‘Roland Garros is coming up in five days and I don’t want to ruin everything in Paris, if there is a still a slight chance to play. So, I decided to retire.”

Cornet said Tuesday’s injury was different from the one she suffered playing against Linda Fruhvirtova last month in Charleston, S.C., which she described as a muscle tear. Cornet retired from that match at 4-4 in the third set after struggling to finish. “This time it’s more of a hip flexor. It’s the only part of my body that always gets injured,” she said.

Before ending Tuesday’s match on her own terms, Cornet and Linette had played 107 points during their one hour and 19 minutes on Patrice-Dominguez Court, with the Frenchwoman winning 47 of them. Cornet’s win-loss record this season dropped to 9-12 in WTA main draws (10-13 in all competitions).

“It’s just bad luck today. I was feeling great on the court. Even with all of the pain on the court, I was hitting the ball well. That’s why I kept playing,” Cornet said with an expression that mixed frustration with a hint of a prideful smile.

“I like tennis too much to stop a match. I waited until the last moment. I just hope I didn’t make it worse.”

Cornet enjoys this time of the year best because it means coming home to France to play in Strasbourg, where she won a title in 2013 and was a finalist in 2012, and of course to play at Roland-Garros, the dream of all French players. She’s been a fixture in Paris every year going back to 2005. Twice, in 2015 and 2017, she reached the round of 16.

“Right now, I’m a little bit worried, to be honest. Roland-Garros is one of the times of the year I’m expecting the most. Now, it’s very uncertain,” Cornet expressed.

“I just can’t wait to have my MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) [test done] on Thursday to know what’s going on. Then, I can decide and, hopefully, it’s not too bad of news. I’m just saddened and hoping for the best.”

Serbia Ladies Open semifinalists shine in Paris

Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, Ana Konjuh and Viktorija Tomova, all semifinalists during last week’s Serbia Ladies Open in Belgrade all won their first-round French Open qualifying draw matches on Tuesday in Paris.

Colombia’s 11th seed Osorio Serrano needed just 65 minutes to defeat Olga Danilovic of Serbia, 6-3, 6-2. Konjuh of Croatia advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Robin Anderson of the United States and 16th seed Tomova, from Bulgaria, beat Natalia Vikhlyantseva of Russia, 6-3, 6-4. In addition, 2020 US Open quarterfinalist Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, seeded 10th, defeated Caroline Dolehide of the United States, 6-7 (7), 6-2, 6-4.

Among the upsets, Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia defeated No. 3 seed Liudmila Samsonova of Russia, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Alcaraz wins French Open qualifying opener

Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz, ranked 94th, fresh off his ATP Challenger title victory in Oeiras, Portugal, advanced to the second round of qualifying at Roland Garros with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Lukas Lacko of Slovakia.

Joining Alcaraz in the next round are three-time 2021 ATP Challenger Tour titlist Jenson Brooksby of the United States, who dropped just a single game in his 6-1, 6-0 win over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe of Germany.

Other winners included: Mackenzie McDonald of the United States, who defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia, 6-4, 6-4; Denis Kudla of the United States, who advanced over Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark, 6-1, 6-2; and Denis Istomin of Kazakhstan, who beat Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia Herzegovina, 2-6, 6-1, 6-1.

The highest seed to los was No. 3 seed Dennis Novak of Austria, who lost to Mario Vilella Martinez, 1-6, 6-2, 6-2.

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