Ninth seed Timea Babos took on Kristina Mladenovic in the Kremlin Cup for a berth in the quarterfinals. Having played together last year and most parts of 2014, the pair now plays with different partners and this was their sixth meeting. In five previous meetings, it was the Frenchwoman who led the head-to-head 4-1, with Babos getting the only win last year on clay.
This time round the indoor courts at Moscow offer different propositions and the Hungarian breezed through the first set to take it 6-1. Mladenovic held an early break at the start of the second set but Babos was able to recover the break, before coming up with another break to complete a 6-1, 6-4 victory.
Babos breezes past
The first three games went the way of the server without much fuss. Mladenovic, however, began struggling on her serve and it allowed Babos to break her to love for the first break in the match in the fourth game. The Hungarian, on the other hand, was clinical on her serve and went on to consolidate the break with ease for a 4-1 lead.
The Frenchwoman’s woes with her serve continued, winning just her fifth point on her own serve as Babos found the double break for a healthy 5-1 advantage. There was no return back into the set for Mladenovic as the Hungarian faced zero break points in sealing the first set 6-1 in less than 30 minutes.
Mladenovic tries to surmount a fightback but can’t sustain as Babos brings it home
It was a much better start to the set by the Frenchwoman who held serve for the second time in the match. She then went on to set up her first break point on the Hungarian’s serve and duly converted it to lead 2-0. However, the break barely lasted a game as Babos immediately rebounded to break back.
Mladenovic was playing better than in the first set and created yet another opportunity to break the Hungarian’s serve in the fourth game. Babos though was equal to it, responding well to level the set 2-2. The Hungarian then regained back control of the match capitalizing on the Frenchwoman’s poor service game to break for a 3-2 lead.
Babos held for 4-2 and almost had the double break like but the Frenchwoman fought off a break point to hold and keep herself within touching distance for 3-4. With both players holding on, the Hungarian was able to close out the match on her own serve to clinch just her second win over her former doubles partner.