Alize Cornet v Elena Rybakina live stream | Wimbledon 2023 Second Round Preview

Jonathan Davies in Wimbledon 06 Jul 2023
Rybakina is targeting her ninth straight win at SW19 (Action Plus Sports Images / Alamy Stock Photo)

Elena Rybakina resumes her Wimbledon title defence with a tricky second-round clash against giant-killer Alize Cornet on Thursday.

The reigning champion, who claimed her first grand slam title 12 months ago with victory over Ons Jabeur in the final, faces a potential skin against a player that has claimed some notable scalps at SW19.

Although, Rybakina has prevailed in their two previous meetings – both of which brought straight-set victories in Hobart and Strasbourg in 2020.

The third seed has kicked on from her Wimbledon triumph, winning in Indian Wells and Rome this season while she was runner-up at the Australian Open and Miami.

But that momentum stalled when she was forced to withdraw injured ahead of her third-round showdown with Sara Sorribes Tormo at the French Open.

And Rybakina appeared in danger of seeing her title defence fall at the first hurdle when she lost the opening set against Shelby Rogers in round one.

However, she rallied to become only the second reigning champion to recover from losing the first set to win in the opening round at the All England Club after Martina Navratilova.

But things do not get any easier. Next up is a clash with Cornet, who is appearing in her record-extending 66th successive major.

And the Frenchwoman knows what it takes to cause an upset at Wimbledon, where she had already defeated the likes of Serena Williams (2014) and Bianca Andreescu (2021) before ending Iga Swiatek’s remarkable 37-match winning run on the way to reaching the fourth round 12 months ago.

Despite suffering nine first-round exits this season, Cornet built some momentum by beating top seed Maria Sakkari en route to the Nottingham semi-finals, before sweeping Nao Hibino aside 6-2, 6-2 in round one here.

The world number 74 now looks to shock Rybakina and advance to round three for only the fifth time in her 16 appearances at the grass-court major.

The winner of this match will play either Viktoriya Tomova or Katie Boulter in the third round at Wimbledon.

Play gets underway at around 4.30pm BST on Thursday and will be contested over the best of three sets on Centre Court.

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