Why The French Open Just Got Significantly Less Dramatic


Alize Cornet saved five match points against Elina Svitolina before finally saying goodbye to the French fans.

PARIS -- After beating Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in a 2½-hour match Friday to reach the fourth round of the French Open for the first time, Alize Cornet collapsed to the clay and thrust out her arms in celebration. Asked what she would do the next time to celebrate, she said she wasn't sure.

It wasn't an issue Sunday. Cornet lost to Elina Svitolina in straight sets 6-4, 7-6 (9), and so could do nothing more than simply walk off the court to the applause of the partisan French crowd.

"Even when I was down 5-love in the first set, the crowd was still behind me, trying to push me to play better,'' the No. 29 seed said. "That's how I finally got into the match in the second set. And I think I was really ready to take all this emotion from the crowd this year. That's why I'm now even more sad to leave the tournament, because I was enjoying every moment on the court, and it's always tough to finish these kind of good moments.''

The match was not without drama. For one thing, rain interrupted the match for more than two hours, dragging it from an 11 a.m. start to a near 3:45 p.m. completion. And things got plenty dramatic after it resumed, with Cornet rallying repeatedly and the crowd backing her all the way.

Just as there was in Saturday's match between Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka, there was a controversial call late in the second set. With the set tied 5-5, a line call against Cornet prompted her to yell at the umpire and gesture to her eyes.

"It was a shame. It was a shame. It's a scandal,'' Cornet said. "I don't want to go into this. I don't know how much judges can be influenced. Generally, I never watch [video] after, and I did this time. It's a shame. It's shameful. I don't know how she could watch straight in my eyes and tell me the ball was out.''

Cornet said the call and her reaction probably cost her two points. The match went into a tiebreaker, but Cornet was able to stave off five match points before finally losing 11-9.

Svitolina, seeded 19th, will play former champion and No. 7 seed Ana Ivanovic in the quarterfinal Tuesday. They have played six times, with Ivanovic winning all six matches and dropping just one set along the way.

"I will just change something from the last match,'' Svitolina said.

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