ZHENGZHOU, China - Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garica will face off in all-French clash in the second round of the Zhengzhou Open.
Mladenovic followed Garcia, who sealed a dramatic win over Tereza Martincova on Monday, into the second round with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over local wildcard Duan Ying-ying on Tuesday.
"It was very tricky conditions: it's super humid, and it's never easy to start a tournament," Mladenovic said. "Every first round is difficult, and Ying-ying, I've played her in the past and she's a very powerful player with a big serve.
"Also, she's playing on home soil, so she obviously had the crowd. The crowd was great, and I really enjoyed my time. I think the key today was the consistency on my serve, and I managed to read hers well, which is her biggest weapon."
The Frenchwoman broke twice in three chances in the first set, as she never proved troubled thanks to an erratic performance from the aggressive Chinese right-hander.
The wildcard racked up 15 unforced errors to just five winners in the opening set, despite landing over 70 percent of her first serves, and never created a break point chance on return.
Her best chance came in the opening game, where she forced Mladenovic to deuce, but the World No.49 dropped just two points in her other three service games for the set.
The second set proved similar to the first, in that Duan dropped serve relatively early, and proved unable to make up the deficit the rest of the way.
Though the wildcard kept pace after losing serve in the fourth game, saving a break point which would've seen her trail 5-1, she was unable to convert in a pair of return games in which she led 0-30 to create a break in the match.
"It's never perfect, but the composure overall, to be very focused from the first point to the last point, I think I did this really well today," she added.
"That's what I wanted to do, going out on the court: really be steady from the first point to the last point. I was efficient on my serve today, and it was very important to get as many returns as possible in the court."
Overall, Mladenovic struck 18 winners to just 10 unforced errors across one hour and 13 minutes, as Duan totaled 25 unforced to just 15 winners.
Mladenovic and Garcia, who won the 2016 French Open in doubles, have split two career singles meetings. While Garcia claimed the first meeting between the two in 2016, Mladenovic was a 6-1, 6-2 victor in Rome earlier this year on clay.
"The tournament here is amazing, and it's such a great field from the first to the last player," Mladenovic said. "It's the second round of a Premier event, and everybody is playing really well.
"Of course, it's always special to play a countrywoman, but we already played once this year, so it's not new. You have to face who the draw gets you to play. I'm just very happy about my first round and I will get ready for the next one."