Alize Cornet overcomes brutal heat, Simona Halep

Alize Cornet defeated former finalist Simona Halep in brutal heat in Melbourne to advance to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal

Alize Cornet defeated former finalist Simona Halep in brutal heat in Melbourne

French player Alize Cornet overcame brutal heat to score a 6-4 3-6 6-4 win over two-time major champion Simona Halep at the Australian Open.

Both players struggled as the temperatures hit 33 Celsius (91 Fahrenheit) on Rod Laver Arena, but it was Cornet who prevailed in a gruelling two hour 33-minute clash.

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“After 30 minutes, we were both dying on the court,” an emotional Cornet said in her on-court interview. “We kept going for two-and-a-half hours with all our heart.”

Romanian 14th seed Halep, a finalist in 2018, had won all eight of her previous matches in 2022.

The breakthrough has been a long time coming for Cornet, who made her Grand Slam debut at the French Open in 2005 but had never been past the fourth round before.

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Thailand’s Tamarine Tanasugarn previously held the record for most appearances before reaching a quarter-final at this level, achieving the feat on her 45th try at Wimbledon in 2008.

Cornet had an ice bag on her head and was drinking as much fluid as she could at the changeover, and her hand appeared to be shaking after she won the first set in 48 minutes.

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Halep seemed the more distressed, constantly bending over to catch her breath.

The Romanian flew from 3-3 in the second set to 6-3 without losing a point. She took the gruelling set after Cornet told the umpire of the heat: “It’s insane, it’s inhuman”.

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Halep then worked a break point at 3-2 in the final set but failed to convert and tossed her racquet away in disgust.

Instead it was Cornet who struck to move a break up at 4-3 as Halep netted a backhand with the Frenchwoman dropping to her knees in exhaustion three games later after clinching victory.

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Cornet broke down in tears after the match.

She will next play Danielle Collins, who defeated the No 19 seed Elise Mertens 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.