Alizé Cornet made her mark to 2016 with a well-performed victory in the final of the Hobart International. The 25 year old from the French Riviera made quick work of Eugenie Bouchard beating her 6-1, 6-2 on Centre Court to win her first WTA final on the Tasmanian island Saturday afternoon.
This the third time both players have met one another and the first in a final where both go for their first title of the season before getting ready for the Australian Open. For Bouchard, the run she has had is what everyone who admires her wanted to see. The 21 year old turned a rough 2015 into a solid showing in Australia to be in a position to win her third career WTA title.
Cornet knows the feeling of victory after weeklong tournaments as she has been at the finals of nine of them winning four since 2008. The Frenchwoman struggled against lower ranked players but got to the finals in stunning fashion beating Johanna Larsson in straight sets allowing her two games. With her history against Bouchard and everything on the line the past five days, Cornet would be pushing the envelope as far as she could against the Canadian.
After trading off wins in the first pair of games, Cornet did just that pressing forward under the pressure of deuce to win the next three straight. While she had a strong serve percentage, Bouchard was clearly struggling to make anything of hers down by a sizable margin. The issue led to Cornet moving into a 5-1 lead where on playing for the set, Cornet watched as Bouchard let the game get away from her and handed the Frenchwoman the set win in 31 minutes.
The opportunity for a new set was in the hands of the Canadian to start the second set on reception. She busted out a triple break winner before taking a second straight that showed a possible change in her comeback of the match. She had Cornet into a deuce draw in Game Three but the Frenchwoman held her ground on service to win it after a break ending Bouchard’s short winning streak.
She came back to even things through four showing that her game skills on the draw were far exceeding that of Bouchard’s. The reality started to show its ugly face for the Canadian as unforced errors were giving Cornet the critical points to walk away in the set.
She led four games to two winning her sixth break point in the match before returning on serve. She put the seventh away with a two-point lead on Bouchard that had her coasting to the match win. The ball went into the hand of the Canadian where staving off a brutal defeat had to come.
It didn’t as she allowed Cornet onto a match point to fire a shot outside wide and end her run at the title. Things were all said and done in 67 minutes with Cornet clearly the better player on the day. Cornet had things steady in the mid 60 percent range landing 19 of 29 on the first serve and won 58 percent of total points in the game.
While she briefly basks in the glory of winning an international tournament, both ladies would have to prepare for a lengthy two week span of tennis as they get set for the opening Grand Slam to begin in Melbourne Park Monday.