8 Jan 2020

First quarterfinalists revealed on Day three

by Rhonda Karl
  First quarterfinalists revealed on Day three

Frenchwoman Alize Cornet clinched her spot in the quarter-finals in a comeback 3-6 6-4 6-4 win over the second seeded Croatian Petra Martic in the first match of the day on centre court.

Both players started well on serve but it was Martic who was able to secure two breaks to secure the first set. Martic was ruthless on her serve winning 80 per cent of her first and second serve points.

However, Cornet who was once on the cusp of reaching the top 10 rankings, didn't back down in the second set and clinched the decisive break to take it 6-4.

A sole break was all that separated both players in the final set as Cornet stepped up to serve for the match at 5-4. Martic threatened to break to even the match but Cornet slammed down three aces in a row to end the Croatian's challenge.

 This was Cornet's second three set marathon in a row to start the season and she knew she had to step up today.

 "Petra is a really really tough opponent and her level is so high and she serves amazing so I had to play even better than yesterday."

 Martic is Cornet's regular doubles partner and says it's tough to play a good friend.

 "We played a great match with good intensity - I'm really happy I'm through this match." 

 In the quarter-finals Cornet will meet American Jessica Pegula who swept aside Slovenian Tamara Zidasnek 6-2 6-3.

In the battle of the former top five players Canadian Eugenie Bouchard trumped Caroline Garcia of France 6-4 6-4. Breaks were hard to come by in the first set - but Bouchard scored the only one to take the first set as Garcia struggled to fire with her return game. 

There were signs of a comeback for Garcia as she broke early to take a 2-0 lead. However Bouchard kept the pressure up playing close to the baseline and moving Garcia around the court. She recovered the break and never looked back winning the match to reach the quarterfinals for the second year in a row.

  "It's always very chill here and it's a nice way to start the year,” Bouchard says

“The crowd here in Auckland is really one of the best of the year for us considering the size of the tournament and how many fans come out.”

Another sold-out night session was opened by the all-star duo of Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki in their doubles quarterfinal. The two close friends have found their rhythm and are having fun playing together in front of delighted fans at the ASB Tennis Arena.

The two former world number No. 1 swept past the top seeded doubles pairing of Caroline Dolehide and Johanna Larsson 6-2 6-1. There was plenty of free-flowing tennis on show as the superstar pair didn’t allow their opponents to break serve.

Earlier in the day American teens Coco Gauff and Catherine McNally were equally impressive in their 6-3 6-2 win over Australian's Jessica Moore and Arina Rodionova. The doubles combo also known as "McCoco" has also coined a new chest bump dance inspired by the American doubles legends Mike and Bob Bryan. Both teams will wait to see who they face in the semi-finals.

Third seeded American Amanda Anisimova dominated from the baseline in her 6-2 6-4 win over former world No. 10 Daria Kasatkina. The 18-year old Anisimova blasted winner after winner in a comprehensive win which was the featured singles night match on centre court.

Anisimova is one of the rising stars of the tour - and she was in top form tonight hitting thirty three winners to just three from Kasatkina. Despite a number of breaks to finish off the match - Anisimova was firmly in control in the face of a spirited fight-back from Kasatkina in the second set.

Anisimova will next take on Eugenie Bouchard in a battle between two of the glamour queens of the tour in a quarterfinal showdown on Friday.

More champagne tennis is expected to be served up with Serena Williams, Coco Gauff, Caroline Wozniacki and Julia Goerges all taking the court tomorrow.