‘S-HERTOGENBOSCH, Netherlands – Last year’s finalist Kristina Mladenovic was pushed to a tough three sets at the Ricoh Open, but she was able to come back against Aliaksandra Sasnovich and move into the quarterfinals.
After finding herself a set and 2-1 down against the Belarusian, No.2 seed Mladenovic roared to life to take the match, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
“It was very tough, I think we played for more than two hours and Aliaksandra is a very great player on the grass,” Mladenovic said in her on-court interview. “I played her last year in Wimbledon and I lost against her – I think her game suits this surface perfectly.
“It was a great challenge for me, and I’m very happy I kept fighting and was able to do the little turnaround in the middle of the second set.”
Much like in her ‘s-Hertogenbosch opener, Mladenovic took a while to get going against Sasnovich. She had trouble holding on to her serve, and was broken four times on her way to dropping the opening set.
But the Frenchwoman found another gear in the second – she survived a spate of double faults to hold onto her service game in a marathon fourth game, and carried her momentum to strike back and finally earn a break on the Sasnovich serve. She reeled off five games in a row to wrap up the set – taking it with an ace - and sent the match into a deciding set.
She continued on her tear to fend off seven break points and rattle off another five games in a row, getting ahead 5-1. They stayed on serve as Mladenovic calmly served out the set, sealing the two-hour and seventeen minute victory with her ninth ace of the match.
Up next she’ll take on the No.7 seed Lesia Tsurenko for a spot in the Ricoh Open semifinals.
“I think I am getting better on grass with each match, even though the competition is extremely tough here in Den Bosch,” Mladenovic said. “You can see in the draw – there are a lot of good matchups and upsets.
“I’m just trying to fight for every single match. I think that’s the key, to give myself chances to win one match at a time and extend my stay here as much as I can.”