Kristina Mladenovic continued her breakthrough season with another impressive performance at the Mutua Madrid Open, ousting Sorana Cirstea to ease into the semifinals in Spain.
WTA Staff

MADRID, Spain - No.14 seed Kristina Mladenovic reached her second Premier Mandatory semifinal out of the her last three in 2017, dismissing Romanian wilcard Sorana Cirstea, 6-4, 6-4 to make it into the final four at the Mutua Madrid Open.

“That was a tricky one,” she said in her post-match press conference. “I think it was the first time we both played with the roof closed. It was a different kind of match because it feels like it's indoors, so the ball is going a little bit faster.

“Sorana is a really great player. She can really hit strong. It was just small details today; I was just a little bit more consistent than her in everything, a little bit better, and holding serves when I really had to.”

The French youngster's impressive year truly began at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, where she won her maiden title at the Premier event. Following a run to the final at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, she roared into the BNP Paribas Open semifinals, outlasting former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki en route.

Switching to clay has proven no problem for the all-court star, narrowly finishing runner-up at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix against Laura Siegemund.

It's only gotten better in Madrid, particularly in her last two matches against Océane Dodin and Cirstea, beating both in straight sets after a tough three-set win over Lauren Davis.

Cirstea reached the quarterfinals for her second straight year, and gave Mladenovic all she could in a high-quality encounter - hitting 18 winners to 12 unforced errors.

The No.14 seed was ultimately even more aggressive - and audacious - on Thursday, striking 23 winners to 17 unforced errors, and converted four of her seven break point opportunities in the one hour and 16 minute clash.

Mladenovic next faces the winner of the fourth and final last eight encounter between 2015 Madrid finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova and unseeded Canadian Eugenie Bouchard.

“That's a very interesting matchup, no matter who will be next. I think it's totally different games.

“Genie has showed great form. We know her game. She's very aggressive, taking the ball on the rise. No matter really the surface, she's playing little bit the same way, I think. We played against each other couple of times.

“Sveta, my doubles partner and I, we’re doing great. It's very cool because since we kind of paired up, she's like, ‘You did so good to me.’ We have the #Kikiteam (indiscernible) fuego, like a fire, because we were doing great and enjoying our time together, like practices, warm-ups and doubles. As a player, she has lots of experience. She's coming back strong, maybe playing her best tennis ever, even though she's already a former Grand Slam champion.

“No matter what, it's a semifinals, a big stage of a very prestigious event. So definitely looking forward.”