September 2, 2014
Tennis — WimbledonSunday, June 29, 2014
Serena knocked out in third round
Loses to Cornet in three sets
World number one Serena Williams was beaten by France’s Alize Cornet in the third round of Wimbledon. It was her earliest defeat at the grasscourt grand slam since losing in the same round in 2005.
LONDON — Five-time champion Serena Williams lost to 25th-seeded Alize Cornet of France 1-6 6-3 6-4 in the third round of Wimbledon yesterday.
It’s Williams’ earliest exit at the All England Club since 2005, when she also was beaten in the third round.
“I don’t know how I did it,” Cornet said. “Just with my heart — and the help of the crowd.”
The No. 1-ranked and No. 1-seeded Williams owns 17 Grand Slam titles, but she now has departed before the quarterfinals at four of the past five major tournaments. That includes a fourth-round loss at the Australian Open in January, and a second-round loss at the French Open in May.
But of Williams’ five total losses in all tournaments this season, two have come against Cornet, who also beat the US player at the Dubai Championships in February.
Still, this result was rather unexpected, given their comparative Grand Slam careers. Cornet never had been past the third round at the All England Club, and she only once before got to the fourth round of a major — way back at the 2009 Australian Open.
Yesterday’s match was halted at one-all, deuce in the opening set because of rain that disrupted play around the grounds most of the day. After a delay of about four and a half hours, Williams was terrific when they resumed, reeling off five games in a row to grab the first set.
And then, quick as can be, things changed dramatically.
Suddenly, it was Cornet who was putting shots right where she wanted them, and Williams who had trouble finding the mark. In all, Williams wound up with 29 unforced errors — 11 more than Cornet.
“She helped me a little bit,” Cornet said, “because she made some mistakes.”
Three other past Wimbledon champions won on Centre Court, where the roof was closed and soccer star David Beckham was in the Royal Box: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova.
For his third match in a row this year at Wimbledon, two-time champion Nadal dropped the first set before coming back to win, this time beating 63rd-ranked Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 6-1 6-1.
Sharapova, the 2004 champion, was up next in the main stadium, and she, too, overcame a slow start. But after falling behind 3-1, she won 11 consecutive games for a 6-3 6-0 victory over 44th-ranked Alison Riske of the United States.
As for Federer, who has collected seven of his 17 major trophies at the All England Club, there really was never any trouble spot. He needed less than 75 minutes to eliminate 35th-ranked Santiago Giraldo of Colombia 6-3 6-1 6-3.