Alize Cornet left it late in her career with the 31-year-old French player finally earning a grass-court semi-final place on Friday at the WTA Berlin event.

Cornet defeated Spanish sixth seed Garbiñe Muguruza 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5), saving a match point in the upset effort. She will aim for the final in the capital against fifth seed Belinda Bencic after the Swiss defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(4).

Cornet will be playing the 25th semi-final of her career but breaks new ground on grass; her previous best was a 2019 eastbourne quarter-final.

No. 63 Cornet ended with 19 winners and 20 unforced errors, with double Grand Slam winner Muguruza notching 34 winners in the struggle lasting for tow and three-quarter hours.

“It was a long match with a lot of emotion, especially in the tiebreak,” Cornet said. “I can’t believe I made it at the end. 

“She’s a champion, she never gives up. I should have gone for it a bit more, I was waiting for a mistake and I was a bit tight – it’s normal. 

“I was always behind in the score in the third set but I kept grinding, I kept fighting to the end and it’s a really nice victory.”

She added: “To play well on grass, it’s unexpected but beautiful.”

Bencic began improving her record against Alexandrova after losing two of  their previous matches- including Eastbourne grass two years ago.

“I definitely don’t like playing her,” Bencic said. “There’s not so much rhythm, she’s very aggressive player, it’s tough to stay in the rally.

“I’m more relieved, it didn’t even feel like a third set tiebreaker – it was really about serving and returning. I’m really happy I stayed tough today.”

Bencic has reached her second semi of the season after Adelaide in February.

Main photo:- Alize Cornet reaches firsty semi-final on grass in Berlin – WTATennis/Jimmie48

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