Top seed Swiatek stunned at Wimbledon (VIDEO)
World number one Iga Swiatek's 37-match undefeated streak came to a shuddering end in the July sunshine in London on Saturday afternoon after she was defeated in straight sets by unseeded Frenchwoman Alize Cornet in one of the biggest shocks in recent Wimbledon history.
Cornet became the first woman to defeat the Pole in four months, triumphing in straight sets (6-4, 6-2) in a match in which she dominated from start to finish.
Swiatek, 21, had been a hot favorite to claim what would have been her second Grand Slam of the year but met unexpected resistance from the 32-year-old Cornet.
So often composed on the court, Swiatek appeared to lose her cool early as evidenced by her kicking her own racket in a rare public showing of frustration - but even as the Pole began to find the type of shots for which fans have become accustomed throughout her recent run, Cornet showed an uncanny ability to soak up Swiatek's power game and return it with interest.
Perhaps it was Swiatek's relative discomfort on grass or just a rare off-day, but Cornet seemed to be more than capable of answering any questions posed to her by her celebrated opponent.
Even after it seemed that Swiatek had made something of a breakthrough by winning the first two games of the second set, Cornet steadied herself and reeled off six consecutive games and clinched the match thanks to another uncharacteristic error from Swiatek when she smashed a forehand into the middle of the net.
“I have no words right now - it reminds me of the time I beat Serena [Williams] on the same court eight years ago exactly,” Cornet said afterwards.
“This court is a lucky charm for me. I am a huge fan of Iga [Swiatek], she's so talented and an amazing player and nice ambassador of women's tennis so I'm very flattered I beat her today.
“This kind of match is what I live for, what I'm practicing for, it drives me and I knew I could do it. I had this belief even with her wins, I thought there is a moment you can beat her it's now on grass so I was just believing very hard and I have the best team by my side and the best crowd.
“I guess I like the upsets, it's a really nice feeling right now and I need to process because I still feel like I'm playing I'm not completely realising what I've done.
“I'm like good wine, in France good wine always ages well, that's what's happened to me. It's unreal - I'm playing one of the best seasons of my career I feel great on the court, I'm having so much fun I feel good physically, eight years after my first qualification into the second week I can say I'm still there I'm still so motivated and I still have the fire in me and I hope you guys enjoyed the match.”
Remarkably, the woman defeated by Swiatek in the French Open final, U.S. teenager Coco Gauff, was also eliminated from Wimbledon in what was a hugely dramatic day in London.
Ajla Tomljanovic awaits Cornet in Monday's round of 16 clash.