The Rogers Cup in Montreal saw its first big surprise of the week early Wednesday afternoon. World No. 4 Angelique Kerber—playing her first match since winning Wimbledon—was bundled out in straight sets by one of the WTA’s most dangerous giant-killers, Alize Cornet.
Kerber had come to Montreal off a dream fortnight at the All-England Club, not just winning her third Grand Slam title and first at Wimbledon, but beating the all-time great, Serena Williams, in the final.
“After Wimbledon I took a little bit of time off to realize what had happened, what I had achieved at Wimbledon—one of my biggest dreams came true,” Kerber said this week. “Now we are here in Montreal and it starts again, and the hardcourt season begins. I’m looking forward to playing again.”
In walked Cornet to end her run before it began. In the first match of the day on center court, the Frenchwoman took it right to Kerber, storming out to a 5-2 lead. Kerber started clawing her way back into the match from there, winning the next two games to narrow that lead to 5-4, but Cornet managed to close the set out, 6-4.
From there the floodgates opened and the unforced errors mounted from Kerber’s side, and with one last backhand return long – her 32nd unforced error of the match – Kerber fell to Cornet, 6-4 6-1.
“Of course, it was not the plan to play just one match. But at the end this is tennis: every tournament starts from zero,” Kerber said on Wednesday. “Now I will try to get ready, learn from the match for the next tournament.”
Kerber actually finished the match with a negative 14 differential of winners to unforced errors (18 to 32). Cornet finished the match with 20 winners to just 15 unforced errors.
“The first set was definitely a difficult one,” Cornet said afterwards. “I played very well, and when she came back from 5-2 to 5-4, I really felt under pressure. She was playing better and better. The fact that I closed the set out there was huge for me, because I got more relaxed, and I think she got down.
“She just won Wimbledon and had an amazing season so far, so I’m just really happy with this win.”
The No. 34-ranked Frenchwoman has eight career wins over Top 5 players. She’s been beating Top 5 players for more than a decade now—the first of those eight Top 5 wins came against a No.5-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova at Rome all the way back in 2008. She also has three career wins over World No.1s, all against Serena in 2014.
Awaiting Cornet in the third round is No. 15 seed Ashleigh Barty.
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev headline the Rogers Cup in Toronto. Watch live coverage from four courts on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Monday, August 6th at 11:00 A.M.