BRISBANE, Australia: Frenchwoman Alize Cornet battled back from losing the first set to overcome seventh seeded Russian Elena Vesnina in the opening round of the Brisbane International on Sunday.
Playing in ferocious heat on an outside court where the on-court temperature climbed above 40 degrees Celsius, the tenacious Cornet wore down Vesnina 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) in two hours, 37 minutes.
She will now play Christina McHale in the second round after the American beat Italian Sara Errani in straight games 6-3, 6-3.
Canadian Eugenie Bouchard’s hopes of turning her form slump around were dashed when she was bundled out by US player Shelby Rogers 6-2, 2-6, 6-1.
Bouchard reached a career-high world ranking of five in October 2014 but has slumped to 46 after a run of disappointing results in 2016.
She said earlier this week she wanted to use the Brisbane tournament to relaunch her career but she found the big-hitting Rogers too tough on Pat Rafter Arena.
Rogers stormed through the first set before Bouchard recovered to level the match. However, after a 10-minute break because of the heat, which Bouchard asked for, Rogers dominated the third set to win in one hour, 53 minutes.
“I definitely feel kind of rusty, out of it,” Bouchard said.
“I haven’t played in a match in a while. I haven’t won a match in a while. All those thoughts kind of go into your head a little bit when you’re on the court.” Bouchard said although she had requested the heat break, she wasn’t blaming the loss on the conditions.
“I felt like I was okay with the heat today — I wasn’t dying or anything,” she said. “Since I have been here, the practice courts are outdoors.
“It’s actually been tougher in practice, and I felt like I was surviving.
“It’s just the mental aspect of getting back to playing matches and all that sort of stuff.”
Third seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova was in superb touch as she downed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-1.
“It was definitely a good win,” Pliskova said.
“Every win is good before a Grand Slam. I am really happy with the way I played today. It could be a little bit better, but 6-3, 6-1, I think it’s a good start in the new year.”
Russia’s Daria Kasatkina beat Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania 6-3, 6-3, while Misaki Doi of Japan was too good for Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova 7-6 (7/1), 6-4.
In the only men’s first round match, Australian Jordan Thompson downed Swede Elias Ymer 6-3, 6-2. — AFP
Brisbane International results
Women (first round)
Christina McHale (USA) bt Sara Errani (ITA) 6-3, 6-3; Shelby Rogers (USA) bt Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 6-2, 2-6, 6-1; Alize Cornet (FRA) bt Elena Vesnina (RUS X7) 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5); Karolina Pliskova (CZE X3) bt Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 6-3, 6-1