Kristina Mladenovic was one of the best players yet to win a WTA title. The French star had already taken home major titles in women's and mixed doubles, but success on the singles court eluded her - that is, until she arrived at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy.
Mladenovic roared through the draw in Russia, ousting Australian Open finalist Venus Williams and defending champion Roberta Vinci en route to the final, where she hit a stunning 62 winners to survive an inspired Yulia Putintseva in what will likely go down as one of the best matches of the season.
"I feel just amazing," she told WTA Insider in her Champions Corner interview. "That was my first title. I lost three finals before that, always playing well but had a better opponent. It's also a Premier event, so it's even more special.
"The wait was definitely worth it and if you asked me whether to change the past or something I would probably not because this tournament as a first title is absolutely insane. I'm not saying that because I won it, but I think the atmosphere, the show, the organization, it's just an amazing event. It's probably the best WTA event during the season, really. They're treating us so well and everything is super nice. So to hold this trophy here and have it as my first title, for sure it's going to stay forever in my best memories heart for my career and maybe more."
Her breakthrough month continued at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, where she stunned good friend and reigning Qatar Total Open winner Karolina Pliskova in the opening round, and ended on another high after reaching the final of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel.
"I'm really a hard worker. I guess all the players are on tour. It's no secret that to achieve such a high level and get the results, you have to. I'm just very positive, working very hard every day, and having this fighting spirit it helps me to go through these tough moments."
Looking to build on her career-high ranking of No.26, Mladenovic is your Breakthrough Player of the Month!
Final Results for February's WTA Breakthrough Performance Of The Month
2017 Breakthrough Performance Of The Month Winners
How it works:
Finalists are selected by wtatennis.com
Winner is then determined by a fan vote on wtatennis.com