2016 Aegon International

Wozniacki licks Cornet with aplomb

Great Dane shows bite to dismantle Cornet

© David Purday/phcimages.com

Caroline Wozniacki returned to Eastbourne’s Centre Court in style, swiftly dismissing Alize Cornet – a last-gasp replacement in the main draw – in straight sets.

With the sun blazing down here at Devonshire Park, it was the former world #1 who shone to bag a comfortable 6-1 6-3 triumph.

Wozniacki was recently stunned on Nottingham’s Aegon Open but bounced back with a solid all-round game to dismiss the French ace.

The great Dane is arguably the Centre Court’s favourite player after claiming the Eastbourne crowd in 2009 as a fresh-faced star and defeating France’s Virginie Razzano.

And sure enough Wozniacki was greeted with loud cheers on Centre Court, and lived up to her build-up by the tannoy by whipping shot after shot past luckless Cornet to seal the opening set.

Wozniacki continued to grow in confidence to destroy Cornet, a regular visitor to Devonshire Park in preparation for Wimbledon, who stepped in on Friday night in place of American Sloane Stephens.

Cornet has never been a grass court expert but two years ago made a sensational name for herself at Wimbledon, racing into the 4th Round that included sending American superstar Serena Williams tumbling out of SW19.

Having never made an impact on Eastbourne’s lawns, Wozniacki gave her a lesson in finishing to march into the 2nd Round with probably her best performance at Devonshire Park for a fee years.

Wozniacki fell apart last term at Eastbourne, having begun the tournament looking sharp she was soundly out of sight against Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic in their semi-final and retired citing a back injury after being outsmarted in their three games.

But on this display Wozniacki could well be a winner again at Eastbourne this term. She saw off Jarmila Gajdosova, veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova and Andrea Petkovic last year at the Aegon International for a trio of impressive victories.

Beating Cornet with such ease showed that Wozniacki has picked up where she left off at Eastbourne, one of her favourite tournaments.

Wozniacki admitted: “I feel confident on my feet, I’ve worked really hard to get into the best shape possible and do a lot of stability work.

“So now I’m feeling comfortable on my ankle and on the grass, which means I’m excited every time I go on court now.”

“And it’s so nice to be on a nice court with a great crowd and also to get another match in before going to Wimbledon.”

If she can stay injury free then her name may be etched on this season’s trophy, which would delight her ever growing army of fans at the south coast resort’s pre-Wimbledon tournament.

But that proved to be no fluke for Cornet, who sent Williams crashing three times in 2014, adding triumphs in Dubai at at the Wuhan Open in China to her sensational SW19 success.

She has collected five WTA Tour titles and in February 2009 reached her best singles ranking of world #11.


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