AO 2022 Day 4: Cornet leads triple shock 

 - Alex Sharp

Every court, every turn there is something happening at Australian Open 2022. Who is making their mark at Melbourne Park?

Alizé Cornet Melbourne 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

The second week is within sight.

Australian Open 2022 has already served up some memorable tennis and there was a plethora of absorbing matches on Thursday as the third-round roster was completed.

Here is what you need to know…

Shocks of the day

Competing in her 60th consecutive Grand Slam, Alizé Cornet chalked up the biggest shock of the tournament thus far.

The Frenchwoman has indicated this could be her farewell and played freely, posting a 23rd career Top 10 victory to dismiss world No.3 Garbiñe Muguruza 6-3, 6-3 with an emphatic performance. 

“I'm telling myself that I'm playing probably my last year. I'm not sure yet. When I stepped on the court, I was like, ‘You know what, just enjoy the moment because you don't know if you're going to come back.’ I think that's what made the difference,” stated the 31-year-old, two off Ai Sugiyama’s all-time women’s record of 62 straight major main draw appearances. 

“Playing a whole year, playing 100%, trying to beat this record of consecutive play in a Grand Slam. After that I think it will be a good time for me to retire.  I feel I'm pretty much ready for the next chapter.”

Roland-Garros 2021 semi-finalist Tamara Zidansek awaits in the last 32. 

Sixth seed Anett Kontaveit blazed into the WTA Finals last season and cracked the Top 10, however, she’s been sent home by an inspired Clara Tauson.

The former junior world No.1 soared to the finish line 6-2, 6-4, feeling so in the groove she ignored the plan set out by her coaching team. 

“In my mind that's just how I want to play every time. I didn't miss a lot of shots, even though I was going for them on every single shot,” stated the 2019 girls’ champion at Melbourne Park, going toe-to-toe with the firepower of American Danielle Collins next.

“I think it's one of the best (wins) at least. I'm very happy with the match today obviously.”

It’s ever too late to play your best tennis, just ask Christopher O’Connell.

The world No.175 Australian has grappled his way through 11 years on the tour and bounced back from a bundle of injuries to flourish on home courts. 

O’Connell roared in delight following a big-time 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-4 triumph over 13th seed Diego Schwartzman. He’ll have to be sharp to navigate past the serve and volley expertise of Maxime Cressy for a shot at a second week venture. 

“It's the biggest win of my career. To do it at the Australian Open, second round, it's an unbelievable feeling,” said the ecstatic 27-year-old. “It's the best feeling I've ever had on a tennis court. Been playing tennis since I was four. To have moments like this, it's a dream come true.”

Daniil Medvedev et Nick Kyrgios - Australian Open 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Match of the day

Enhanced by the festival atmosphere on a packed Rod Laver Arena, this was a spectacular match. World No.2 Daniil Medvedev rocketed down 31 aces to eventually diminish the unpredictable, show-stopping antics of Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

The crowd was on his back, Kyrgios threatened a comeback in a blockbuster third set, but the US Open champion was resolute. 

“I'm really happy to be the winner, because I think it could go anywhere tonight, it was top level,” said the Russian. 

“It's definitely an unlucky draw, a tough draw. I know he can serve big, he’s an entertainer, it's like a big challenge where if you make it, you feel like, ‘okay, if I can continue playing like this,’ I can go far.” 

What can US Open surprise package Botic van de Zandschulp bring to trouble Medvedev in the last 32? The Dutchman took a set off the second seed at Flushing Meadows last September.

Brits bow out

British major winners Andy Murray and Emma Raducanu were denied a third round spot. 

Qualifier Taro Daniel dismissed the former world No.1 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 with Murray punished for converting just two of 11 break chances.

Meanwhile Raducanu, improvising due to a deep right-hand blister, fought valiantly in a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 defeat by world No.98 Danka Kovinic

“I discovered tools about myself and my game that I didn't know I had before, that slice forehand is not so bad and I have some sort of hand skills. That was a positive surprise,” claimed the US Open champion Raducanu.

Kovinic became the first player representing Montenegro to reach the last 32 of a major and will wield her racket against two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep. 

There was some positive British news, Dan Evans receiving a walkover from the injured Arthur Rinderknech. Evans will tackle ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, the 7-6 (4), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) victor in a nail-biter with Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. 

End of singles show for Bam Bam Sam

A dream singles career has seen the curtain come down.

Sam Stosur has been an elite player for the green and gold for two decades. The 2011 US Open champion and former Roland-Garros runner-up reached a career-high world No.4 and made 69 major main draws.

There was a warm hug at the net after 10th seed Anastasia Paclyuchenkova, a former doubles partner, posted 6-2, 6-2 on the scoreboard to book a last 32 duel with Sorana Cirstea

“I’ve done more than I ever thought possible. I dreamed of winning a Grand Slam and doing close to what I did,” Stosur told the crowd, continuing to play doubles through 2022. “To do what I’ve done, dreaming as a little kid, is phenomenal. Couldn’t have asked for more. It’s been amazing.”

Iga Swiatek - Australian Open 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Rublev and Swiatek keep crusing

Somehow Andrey Rublev remains under the radar at Melbourne Park. The Russian rattled through a 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 scoreline over Ricardas Berankis.

Meanwhile, Iga Swiatek has come to play, dropping just seven games in her opening two encounters. A 6-2, 6-2 victory facing Rebecca Peterson set up an enticing match with in-form Sydney semi-finalist Daria Kasatkina

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka survived another turbulent day on serve. The Belarusian had to dig deep having gifted 19 doubles faults, but battled back valiantly 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 to oust China’s Xinyu Wang.

Wildcard Maddison Inglis was celebrating once again with a three-set triumph to edge past Hailey Baptiste. 

Elsewhere Benoit Paire edged Grigor Dimitrov in four tight sets to book a clash with world No.4 Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Greek also needed four sets to halt the Argentine Next Gen Sebastian Baez.