QUÉBEC CITY, Canada - After surviving back-to-back-to-back three-setters in her last three rounds, French teenager Kristina Mladenovic unleashed her full arsenal to perfection in the quarterfinals of the Bell Challenge on Friday night, crushing Melanie Oudin to move safely through to the semifinals, 60 61.
Mladenovic, who went to three sets in her last round of qualifying and in the first two rounds of the main draw, jumped out to a 60 30 lead before Oudin got on the board, but the match would eventually end after 63 minutes anyway.
"I've had a few tough matches already this week and I was expecting a tough one today too, but it was much quicker than I thought it would be," Mladenovic said. "A lot of the games were close, so it was still tough, but I think she was making a lot more unforced errors today than she usually does. Sometimes it happens like this. But I'm happy I'm through to my first WTA semifinal."
Mladenovic has had the biggest successes of her young career over the last several weeks, and all within a radius of a few hundred miles. First she won her first WTA title of any kind in doubles in Montréal; next she reached the third round of the US Open in New York City, getting the two best wins of her career along the way, including her first Top 20 win; now in Québec City she has not only reached her first WTA quarterfinal, but her first WTA semifinal.
"My game tonight was exactly what I needed to play against her," Hradecka said afterwards. "She has a lot of spin and in the beginning I was rushing a little bit too much, so I just stayed calm and started playing within myself."
Hradecka has been enjoying her stay in Québec. "I heard a lot of good things about this tournament from my doubles partner, who was here last year," she said. "It's my first time and everything is great. It's also nice for me to be playing just singles here - in the last few months I was playing a lot of doubles!"
Hradecka and Mladenovic will be playing each other for the first time.
"Kristina did very well at the US Open, winning against Pavlyuchenkova, so it's going to be tough," Hradecka said. "In the semifinals it's always a tough match, but I'm really looking forward to it and we'll see how it goes tomorrow."
The other semifinal will pit No.3 seed Mona Barthel against the unseeded Kirsten Flipkens. Barthel held off late comebacks from Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, originally leading 5-0 in the first set and 5-1 in the second before edging the No.6 seed and defending champion, 63 64; Flipkens beat Anna Tatishvili, 62 30, when the Georgian retired with a low back injury.
Barthel and Flipkens will also be playing each other for the first time.