Alize Cornet ends tennis career with emotional first-round loss at French Open

Sales of tissues must have rocketed in Paris following the departure of former finalist Andy Murray on Sunday, and then 14-time champion Rafael Nadal’s tear-jerking goodbye 24 hours later.

Popular Frenchwoman Cornet announced last month that she would be retiring after this year’s home tournament.

The 34-year-old former world number 11, who twice made the fourth round, was granted a wild card and a spot on Court Philippe Chatrier for what she described as “the last dance”.

She bowed out of her 20th Roland Garros, and her 72nd appearance at a grand slam, with a 6-2 6-1 loss to seventh seed Qinwen Zheng of China.

Cornet, who played her first French Open aged 15, said: “It’s been a difficult day with a lot of emotion. It’s a 20-year page that I’m turning and I’m going to a new chapter in my life.

“I wish I could have played better, but I gave everything I could to this sport.”

Former Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina won 10 games in a row and yet was still an unconvincing winner against unseeded Belgian Greet Minnen.

An uneven match saw the 24-year-old from Kazakhstan turn a 2-0 deficit in the first set into a commanding 6-2 4-0 lead.

Fourth seed Rybakina then dropped serve twice as Minnen threatened a comeback, but regained her composure to wrap up a 6-2 6-3 victory.

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