Alizé Cornet powered into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open today with a shock victory over Simona Halep.
In a thrilling three-set encounter, Cornet triumphed 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 against Halep, knocking the two-time Grand Slam champion out of the tournament.
The 32-year-old will now face American Danielle Collins in the quarter-finals.
Cornet was emotional after her victory, and for good reason. It was the first time she had booked a place in the final eight of a Grand Slam, despite it being her 60th attempt.
Having featured at every Grand Slam for the past 15 years, Cornet had played in the fourth round six times.
The closest she came to a quarter-final was at the 2009 Australian Open. The Frenchwoman led Dinara Safina 5-2 in the third set, but she squandered two match points and ultimately lost 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.
“Thirteen years later… it feels amazing,” Cornet said. “The battle I had with Simona today with this heat. After 30 minutes we were both dying on the court. We kept going for two and a half hours with all our hearts.
“Congrats to Simona because I know she struggled a lot, and I admire this player so much. She is such a fighter, an example for me.
“To be here today and go to my first quarter-final is just a dream come true. It’s never too late to try again.”
Alizé Cornet’s career so far
Cornet made her Grand Slam debut at the French Open in 2005, aged just 15.
Ranked 645th in the world, she immediately caused an upset, defeating 71st-ranked Alina Jidkova in the first round, before falling to Amélie Mauresmo in the second round.
The star earned her first WTA title in 2008, triumphing at the Budapest Grand Prix. A year later, she rose to a career high of world number 11.
Cornet went on to win five more WTA titles, ranging from the Gastein Ladies in 2012 to Swiss Open in 2018.
The French player also became known for defeating Serena Williams on three occasions in 2014. Williams was world number one at the time.
Cornet first recorded a straight-sets victory over the American in the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships, before inflicting another defeat on Williams in the third round of Wimbledon.
This was followed by yet another win in the second round of the Wuhan Open, although Williams was forced to retire due to illness.
Although beating Williams three times over a year is a remarkable achievement, Cornet will be glad she will now also be remembered for reaching a quarter-final of a Grand Slam.
Cornet has indicated this year may be her last on the WTA Tour – can she go out with a bang?