London, July 2: Iga Swiatek's 37-match winning streak came to an end on Wimbledon's Court One as wily Frenchwoman Alize Cornet pulled off a sensational third-round victory.
Top seed and world number one Swiatek had not lost since February, when she was beaten by Jelena Ostapenko in Dubai, reeling off six successive tournament wins, including her second French Open title. It was the longest winning streak in women's singles in the 21st century, and now it is over.
The 21-year-old Polish player had not looked comfortable on grass in her opening two rounds at Wimbledon, and she was outsmarted on Saturday by the experienced Cornet, losing 6-4 6-2 in an hour and 32 minutes.
At the age of 32, Cornet is playing a record-tying 62nd consecutive grand slam, matching Ai Sugiyama's record. She is also enjoying her best year at the majors, reaching a slam quarter-final for the first time in Australia before getting to the third round at Roland Garros.
Crucially, Cornet already had a famous Wimbledon scalp behind her coming into this match. Eight years ago, on the equivalent first Saturday of the championships and on the same court, Cornet defeated Serena Williams.
On this occasion, Cornet swept to a swift double break against the former Wimbledon girls' champion, opening a 3-0 lead. Swiatek got back into the opening set by recovering one break, but she could not draw level.
Swiatek then had a chance to break in the second game of the second set, and a 2-0 lead was hers when Cornet went long with a forehand. Yet the lead was immediately squandered, a dazzling stop volley from Cornet saving game point before a looping backhand winner brought the set back onto serve.
From there, Cornet pulled away, Swiatek's belief fading as the match raced away from her. At her 15th Wimbledon, Cornet was able to celebrate another show-stopping moment.
Data slam: Alize in wonderland
This was a 24th career win for Cornet against a player ranked inside the top 10, and a fourth against a world number one – the previous three all came against Serena Williams, all in 2014 (including one by retirement). The world number 37, who reached a career-high ranking of 11th in 2009, was facing Swiatek for the first time and now goes on to tackle Ajla Tomljanovic for a place in the last eight.
WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS Cornet – 16/7 Swiatek – 21/33
ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS Cornet – 1/2 Swiatek – 3/1
BREAK POINTS WON Cornet – 5/6 Swiatek – 2/6