Tennis: Andreescu fails to break Wimbledon jinx after defeat by Cornet

Bianca Andreescu lost to Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-1 in the first round of Wimbledon on June 30, 2021.
Bianca Andreescu lost to Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-1 in the first round of Wimbledon on June 30, 2021.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - Even Bianca Andreescu could not help but burst out laughing when a spectacular mis-hit lob from Alize Cornet clipped the corner of the baseline to condemn the Canadian fifth seed to yet another first-round exit at Wimbledon on Wednesday (June 30).

It was that kind of a day.

Andreescu might have been the first teenager in 15 years to conquer a Grand Slam when she unexpectedly triumphed at the US Open in 2019 but when it comes to Wimbledon, she has yet to find her grasscourt feet as both her appearances at the All England Club have ended in first-round exits.

At least in 2017 Andreescu had managed to slip out of the vast landscaped grounds without really being noticed as she had made it into the main draw as a rather anonymous qualifier.

On Wednesday, however, her 6-2 6-1 walloping by French nemesis Cornet meant she became the highest women’s seed to perish at this year’s grasscourt major.

Not much went Andreescu’s way in the rain-delayed match. She seemed powerless to stop the unforced errors that kept flying off her racket – the final tally mercifully stopping at 34 thanks to Cornet’s slice of luck on match point.

“At one point she just... switched gears and she was on another level,” Andreescu, who has had to cope with a number of injuries since triumphing at Flushing Meadows, told reporters.

“She played really well. She was taking control from the start.” Andreescu simply lost control.

Six break points went begging for her while there were countless occasions when she reached game point on her own serve, only to get broken by the 58th-ranked Frenchwoman who had also beaten her less than two weeks ago on grass in Berlin.

Andreescu struggled to hit anything on target and even luck deserted her on Court Two.

At match point, Cornet mis-hit a lob with her racket at full stretch while she charged across the back of the court and both players were left bemused as the ball bounced on the corner of the baseline to end Andreescu’s ordeal.

Despite her trials and tribulations on grass, Andreescu remained confident of eventually conquering the lush turf.

“I just have to put the pieces together. Hasn’t really been like that the past couple of tournaments but I know I’m going to get there, and I’m super excited for that,” she said.

Cornet will hope her win over the fifth seed gives her the springboard she needs to do well at Wimbledon because in 13 previous appearances, she has only made it as far as the fourth round once.