PARIS, France - The upset bug hit Roland Garros hard and fast this week and we have no one but the kids to blame. Twenty-one-year-old Kristina Mladenovic started it off with her gutsy win over No.2 Li Na in the first round on Tuesday and 20-year-old Garbiñe Muguruza pulled off the upset of the tournament nearly 24 hours later, handing No.1 Serena Williams her worst lost at a Slam with a 6-2, 6-2 win.
But the toughest match to win isn't the upset itself but the match that comes afterwards. How do you cope with pulling off the biggest win of your career on he biggest of stages, going from anonymity to fame, and underdog to overdog in one breakneck moment? The big win is great and all, but what if you can't back it up? Will everyone just think you were a flash in the pan and forget about you as quickly as they sang your praises?
"I think that mentality of not getting too hyped about a win and staying within your routine is key," said Ajla Tomljanovic. She knocked off No.32 seed Elena Vesnina and is preparing to take on the highest seed remaining in the draw, No.3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska.
"For sure the toughest part is you beat someone, coming back the next day and showing again that you're able to do the same thing," Tomljanovic said. "It's definitely tough because you're thinking you beat someone like Serena and you're like 'Oh my God, I'm the star of the day.' And let's say you come out flat. Then people are thinking was that just a fluke?"
Mladenovic was able to back up her win with a tough three set win over Alison Riske and she admitted it was tough to focus. "A lot of players just lose their concentration of being anymore in the tournament," she said. "Even if they are trying hard, it's something really tough to do. I could feel it today on the court."
Ana Ivanovic has had her share of big upsets this year, including wins over Serena at the Australian Open and Maria Sharapova in Rome. She said the toughest part was just getting her energy back to compete. "You put so much energy and excitement into that victory and that particular match that you really come down," she said. "It's very hard sometimes to get up for that physically and mentally. That's probably the hardest part. It's not that you don't believe, just that you are actually tired."
It's a cruel ask of a player to tell them to just forget about their biggest career achievement and move on to the next match but hey, tennis is a cruel sport. Wins and losses have to be forgotten immediately because the next match is fast approaching. Mladenovic is coping by not forgetting about her win but simply delaying the celebration.
"When the tournament will be over, then I will look back at what I've done and then I will have some thinking and briefing about it. But now I just focus day by day and just try to keep going."