PARIS, France - Coming in she was in a slump, dropping from last year's career-high of No.36 down to No.103, searching for the kind of form that once had her pegged as one of the WTA's brightest young stars. But Kristina Mladenovic's star shone brighter than ever at Roland Garros on Tuesday.
Mladenovic brought her home crowd to its feet on Court Suzanne Lenglen with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 stunner over No.2 seed Li Na, squeaking through the first set, dipping in the second set then picking her game up in a big way in the third set, containing her huge power game with just five unforced errors.
The Frenchwoman's win over the World No.2 was the biggest win of her career - in fact it was by far the biggest win of her career, as her biggest win before this was against a No.8-ranked Petra Kvitova.
"Also, look at this season. I went down in the rankings. I was in the Top 50 in the middle of last year, and I'm not longer in the Top 100. But it's only on paper. I've always believed in myself, and I still believed in myself today, and that's how I could put up such a good fight and play so well out there.
"I knew I had this in me. I'm very ambitious. I've never hidden that. And this is such a good win."
Wickmayer has been working with Kim Clijsters at her academy - and Clijsters was at the match.
"The whole box was present, and it was exceptional, and it gave me strength in the difficult times," Wickmayer said. "In order to win this match, the fact that they were there was very important."
Other Top 16 seeds in action were No.6 seed Jelena Jankovic, who completed the match she began on Sunday against Sharon Fichman, 5-7, 6-1, 6-3, No.10 seed Sara Errani, who outdid Madison Keys, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1, No.11 seed Ana Ivanovic, who defeated Caroline Garcia, 6-1, 6-3, and No.15 seed Sloane Stephens, who won a dramatic second set tie-break to close Peng Shuai out, 6-4, 7-6(8).
No.21 seed Kirsten Flipkens, No.22 seed Ekaterina Makarova, No.23 seed Lucie Safarova, No.24 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, No.26 seed Sorana Cirstea and No.27 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova also won, but there was one more upset, with María-Teresa Torró-Flor - who recently won the first WTA title of her career in Marrakech - taking out No.30 seed Klara Koukalova in straights, 7-6(4), 6-2.