Australian Open audiences have broken out in song to celebrate birthday girl Alize Cornet’s milestone victory on Saturday.
The French veteran came from a set and two breaks down to win 4-6 6-4 6-2 over 29. seeded Tamara Zidansek.
And after forgetting to mention it during an emotional interview in court, Cornet had one last request for the audience – which you can see in the video above.
Cornet is back in the fourth round for the first time since she was a teenager at the 2009 Australian Open, and doing so on her 32nd birthday was all the more magical.
She sealed the victory after two hours and 48 minutes, with temperatures in Melbourne already well over 30 degrees.
“I did not miss this Australian heat. It’s so brutal. It’s really about surviving on the pitch, ”Cornet said.
“I simply can not believe I won this match. I was 6-4 4-1 down. I could not find the solution.
“Tamara played great tennis, I did not play my best. I just kept going, I kept fighting, I put all the resilience I could into this fight.
“It’s a magical victory for me. It’s been 13 years since my first fourth round and I’m back. Oh god!”
The post-match case miraculously ended without mentioning her birthday – until Cornet herself pushed interviewer Ian Cohen in the right direction as she left court.
“Oh! Well stay here,” Cohen said.
“I need help from everyone here at Margaret Court Arena. What’s your message, Alize?”
Cornet told fans, “I forgot I was too emotional. Today is my birthday, boys.”
Cohen grabbed the microphone: “So, ladies and gentlemen. Pop back in the middle here. When you count three …”
The audience immediately began singing happy birthday, and Cornet celebrated in style, conducting his choir with a wide smile.
Cornet had just finished thanking the fans for their part in her comeback victory.
“I feel the love for this crowd. It pushes me all the time, it’s so special,” she said in the previous interview.
“Even though I’m not an Aussie, I do not even know if you like Frenchmen, but you give me so much love.
“That’s really what’s pushed me through today. Thank you, I hope you will be there in the next round.”
The joyous scene stood in stark contrast to a previous match with the chair referee.
When he fought back in the second set, knowing how close she had been to elimination, Cornet took a problem with a time violation.
The judge thought she had wasted time by checking the sun in her eyes during a service motion.
“I took the ball and I went right here on the line. What’s your problem with me? “Said an offended Cornet.
Commentators discussed the incident, saying Cornet was right.
“She has completely lost the plot by the chair judge,” another commentator said.
“But she (the referee) has done it with both players.”
Two-time grand slam winner slipped through
Cornet will face Simona Halep in the fourth round after the former Australian Open finalist and two-time grand slam champion crossed through as the draw opens up in front of her.
Halep did easy work with Danka Kovinic in her third-round clash at the John Cain Arena on Saturday, beating the Montenegrins 6-2 6-1 to reach the second week for the fifth year in a row.
After an injured 2021, Halep started his Australian summer in style and triumphed in the Melbourne Summer Set, missing another set in his three matches at the Open.
“I feel like I played great. She was a little bit tired, she had a tough fight before me,” she said.
“But it’s always a big challenge to play on this course and give the best. So I’m really happy with the way I played and look forward to the next round.
“I’m fine, I feel more confident now because last year was a tough year. So now I just enjoy playing tennis, I’m happy.
“So it’s a good thing I can come here and do my best
Halep struggled through a violent start from Kovinic to make it through the opening set in 29 minutes and take the fight by the neck, where world No. 98 had no answer to her throbbing forehand.
The former No. 1 in the world went a better in the second set and held all his service games to end the match.
Elsewhere, the 27th seed and 2019 Melbourne Park semi-finalist Danielle Collins fought back from a set and 4-2 down against rising Danish star Clara Tauson to win 4-6 6-4 7-5 and book a spot in the fourth round.
Collins must face 19th seed Elise Mertens, who beat veteran Zhang Shuai 6-2 6-2.
– with Anna Harrington, AAP