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Mladenovic Sidelines Safarova In DC

Kristina Mladenovic came on strong in the middle of the second set en route to a win over No.1 seed Lucie Safarova in the first round of the Citi Open.

Published July 29, 2014 12:13

Mladenovic Sidelines Safarova In DC
Kristina Mladenovic

WASHINGTON DC, USA - Kristina Mladenovic hit her stride in the middle of the second set and went on to defeat No.1 seed Lucie Safarova in the first round of the Citi Open on Tuesday.

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The Plot
Both Safarova and Mladenovic came into this tournament in good form. At Safarova's most recent event, she went all the way to the Wimbledon semifinals for her best outing of the season and her best Grand Slam showing ever.

And though Mladenovic lost in the first round of Wimbledon, she had her best two results of the year since - a semifinal run at Istanbul that matched the best WTA outing of her career and a quarterfinal appearance at Baku.

The Turning Point
Down a set and at 3-3 in the second, Mladenovic held serve, broke for the first time and held again to force a third set. Then on serve but down 2-1, she captured five of the next six games to seal her 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory.

In those last two sets, Mladenovic fought off all seven break points she faced while breaking Safarova's serve three times. She withstood some strong serving by Safarova throughout the match, as the Czech fired 11 aces.

By The Numbers
This was the third time Safarova has been a No.1 seed at a WTA event, and she also lost in the first round the other two times - at Forest Hills in 2006 and at Istanbul in 2013. This also was the first time Mladenovic beat a No.1 seed at a WTA tournament. Finally, this was the first time that the Washington DC No.1 seed lost her opener.

What's Next
Mladenovic plays American qualifier Taylor Townsend. The two WTA Rising Stars will be squaring off for the first time.

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