LONDON (AP) Alize Cornet had never beaten a top-20 player at a Grand Slam tournament and never advanced past the third round in Wimbledon.
It’s now a done deal after the 24-year-old beat five-time champion Serena Williams 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 at the All England Club Saturday.
After hitting a drop shot on match point that Williams sent back in the net, the 25th-seeded Frenchwoman kneeled and kissed the grass.
That, also was a first for Cornet, who had struggled on grass in the past.
”It was the first time in my life actually,” she said. ”I think it’s very symbolic because it means now `I love you grass’ and I didn’t before. It’s the best victory for me in a Slam. I was really looking for this second week, now I have it. It deserved a kiss, I think.”
Cornet was unable to spend as much time as she would have loved celebrating her victory. Williams, eager to return quickly to the locker room, stopped behind her and gave her a tap on the shoulder to speed her up as she was sitting on her chair.
”When I felt her hand I first thought it was a ball boy asking for my towel,” Cornet said. ”Then I saw and I felt bad because I was worried I was making her wait. I was not impressed during the match, but before and after, yes I was. Don’t forget it’s Serena! I didn’t consider myself the star of the show, though I had won the match. I was enjoying my win, struggling to believe, and she brought me back down to earth.”
– By Samuel Petrequin – https://twitter.com/sampetrequin
BERDYCH WALKS AWAY
His Wimbledon over in disappointing fashion a night earlier, Tomas Berdych strolled along the street outside the All England Club on Saturday, completely unencumbered.
Wearing a casual jacket and jeans, and toting a tennis racket, Berdych walked toward Wimbledon village past spectators heading toward the All England Club – and no one stopped him to ask for an autograph or a photograph.
Berdych, the runner-up to Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2010, was not pleased that play in his 7-6 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (6) loss to Marin Cilic in the third round continued as darkness came Friday night. They finished at 9:38 p.m. local time, the latest finish for an outdoor match in tournament history.
Berdych joked about the conditions in a message on his Twitter feed, posting a box that was completely black – other than two pairs of cartoon eyes.
On Saturday, he wrote: ”Many Q about dark yesterday. A: Dark was on both sides of the court!No excuse for me.Marin was better.See you soon London.”
– By Howard Fendrich – http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich
BECKHAM AND CO: A dapper-looking David Beckham wearing a jacket and tie and sporting a goatee was among the Royal Box attendees at Wimbledon on Saturday when a number of sports stars were acknowledged.
Beckham, accompanied by his mother, Sandra, sat immediately in front of Bobby Charlton, who led England to its only World Cup championship in 1966.
Also in the box on Centre Court were British Olympic medalists diver Tom Daley, cyclists Victoria Pendleton and Bradley Wiggins and rower Matthew Pinsent.
As the athletes were introduced, the applause echoed loudly off the closed roof. With rain forcing the start of play to be delayed on all side courts, officials decided to leave the roof closed on Centre Court until weather conditions became more stable.
– By Dennis Passa – http://twitter.com/DennisPassa
Wimbledon Watch follows tennis’ grass-court Grand Slam tournament in London as seen by journalists from The Associated Press. It will be updated throughout the day.