It's the tennis upset of the year: During the third round of Wimbledon, No. 25 Alizé Cornet beat Serena Williams, the top-seeded contender who was well on her way to her sixth Wimbledon win. Both women looked stunned when the match ended, as Williams is currently ranked the No. 1 women's singles tennis player in the world. And despite being the No. 1 player in France, no one had 24-year-old Cornet on their radar.
“I just cannot believe it,” Cornet said in a television interview. “A few years ago, I couldn’t even play on the grass, I was so bad. And now I beat Serena.”
This year has been a tough ride for Serena Williams. Her loss Saturday marks the first time she failed to make the quarterfinals at Wimbledon since 2005, where she was also knocked out in the third round. Williams did not play in the 2006 Wimbledon tournament.
So far this year, Williams has failed to make the quarterfinals at four major tennis events, including the French Open. This also isn't the first time Williams has been ousted by Cornet; the young French tennis player defeated Williams at the Dubai Championships in February. Williams' sister, Venus, ended up defeating Cornet in the final round.
Despite that loss, Serena Williams was still considered at the top of the tennis world, clinching the No. 1 seed and expecting to turn around her game at this year's Wimbledon.
So, who is this rising tennis underdog, Alizé Cornet? Well, she made her Grand Slam, or majors, debut nearly 10 years ago at the 2005 French Open, where she lost in the second round.
Cornet has had disappointing results in most of her Wimbledon matches, reaching the third round only once. She has never won a Grand Slam event. After beating Serena Williams Saturday, the French player will advance to the fourth round — a career achievement.
Williams, though disappointed, had nothing but praise for Cornet. She told BBC Sport: "[Cornet] kept her unforced errors really low. I think I made a few errors too many. She was going for her shots. She played really well today."
Long considered the greatest women's tennis player in history, Williams has 17 Grand Slam titles to her name. She has a another chance this year to add to her vast collection of Grand Slam titles at the U.S. Open in August.
Meanwhile, Cornet will face Canadian player Eugenie Bouchard in the fourth round. Bouchard is currently the No. 13 seed.