MADRID, Spain - World No.17 Kristina Mladenovic put on a clinic to defeat compatriot Oceane Dodin and advance to her first career final at the Mutua Madrid Open on Wednesday.
Mladenovic, three years the senior of the two Frenchwomen, fired down 11 aces and saved all three break points she faced en route to the 6-2, 6-1 victory in just 58 minutes.
"[It] was a great match for me. I think I did a great job out there with reading all of her shots pretty much. I prepared this match really well. I stayed up late last night to watch her play," Mladenovic said."She has great qualities. She's striking the ball very hard. It's not easy, but I thought I returned really well today because she's serving big. I put her under some pressure, so her first-serve percentage was quite low. I could feel she was disturbed that I could read her first serves.
"Especially [on] my serve, I think I got into the right rhythm. I was mixing it up quite well, so she couldn't read my serve."
Mladenovic advances to her second quarterfinal at a Premier Mandatory event in 2017, having previously reached the semifinals at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
The 23-year-old never trailed for the duration of the third round encounter, and struck a total of 29 winners to just 10 unforced errors in the match.
"It was very important to be ready on the first couple shots because that's her game," Mladenovic said. "I knew if I managed to be in a rally or just to make her move, kind of absorb her big shots, I'll be the winner out there. I'm pleased with the way I played."
Mladenovic broke the Dodin serve four times in the match, as the 20-year-old struck seven double faults. Dodin, who recorded her first-ever top 10 victory over Dominika Cibulkova in the previous round, was unable to stop an in-form Mladenovic, as she connected on just 13 winners of her own.
"She has a huge qualities. She's young," Mladenovic said about her young compatriot. "I think if she's working in the right direction, she can play really well. I mean, she proved it this week. She beat such great players. Overall she's having a great attitude on the court."
In the last eight, Mladenovic will face wildcard Sorana Cirstea, who advanced to the quarterfinals for a second straight year thanks to a 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 victory over Misaki Doi.
"I'm having a great season so far. I put high expectations on myself since always," Mladenovic said. "I'm just glad it's paying off, and it's working. I don't take anything for granted. I'm working every single day for that. I prepare for every single match as important.
"I'm just very happy with the way it's going. I just want to keep improving."