No last hooray for Alizé Cornet at French Open as Zheng beats French veteran

Alizé Cornet's 20-year tennis career came to an end on Tuesday under the roof of centre court with a straight sets defeat to Qinwen Zheng from China.

A month ago, the 34-year-old Frenchwoman told French broadcaster Canal Plus that the 2024 French Open would be her last tournament as a professional player.

Just before the start of the competition, she posted a message on social media with a picture of her as a 15-year-old.

"Thanks @FFTennis for allowing me to choose my exit thanks to this wild card. I couldn't dream of anything better," she said.

"And to this 15-year-old: you didn't do too badly, kid."

The thirtysomething version of Cornet started the farewell abysmally. Zheng raced into a 4-0 lead before Cornet clawed her way back. But after squandering several chances to win a third successive game, Cornet succumbed anew.

The 21-year-old claimed the opener 6-2 and after both players held serve at the start of the second set, Zheng raced away to take it 6-1.

"Congratulations on a wonderful career," said Zheng after her 83-minute victory. "We won't forget you. I hope you have a great life after tennis. Be happy."

As a 15-year-old Cornet was given an invitation by the French tennis federation to play in the main draw at the French Open in 2005. Ranked at 645 in the world, she beat Alina Jidkova from Russia who was nearly 600 places above her in the WTA lists before losing to third seed and fellow Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo.


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