The eleventh seed Kristina Mladenovic started off her Charleston campaign against Tatjana Maria in the first round. On a sunny morning, it was the world number 105 who got off to a better start. Maria started to fade away though, allowing Mladenovic to grab the first set. The Frenchwoman went on to get the job done winning 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 32 minutes.
Maria Starts Positively But Fails To Hang On
Mladenovic hit three double faults in a shaky first game to hand break to Maria. Her patient play, though, rewarded her with her first break point chance immediately on the German’s serve, but Maria though hung on to consolidate her game for 2-0. Mladenovic got herself on the board and soon found herself with another opportunity to get the break back against the German. Maria defended well and was pushed by the Frenchwoman before Mladenovic carved out another break point with an excellent drop shot. Maria in the end managed to survive the physically demanding long game to hang on to her lead for 3-1.
That long game seemed to have taken a toll on Mladenovic too as the Frenchwoman struggled and faced two break points. Mladenovic fended off Maria’s efforts with some clever shots and came up with an important hold to keep herself in the set. The Frenchwoman had another look on the German’s serve and got the break right back with her aggressive play for 3-3. Mladenovic’s huge effort to get back on level terms went to waste though as a string of errors allowed Maria to once again break to go 4-3 ahead.
The lead doesn’t last for long as Mladenovic levelled once more for 4-4 as Maria failed to consolidate the break. The Frenchwoman held her own service game comfortably to go in front for the first time at 5-4. Momentum was now fully with Mladenovic who found herself with three set points and wrapped up the set 6-4 in quick fashion.
Maria Tries To Fight Back But Mladenovic Takes Control
Maria brushed aside that poor last game and made the breakthrough right away. Both players still struggled to hold their own games as the German was broken right back. Mladenovic then stemmed the succession of breaks with a hold for 2-1. She followed it up with a couple of good returns for triple break point. Maria could only fend off two as an untimely double fault gifted Mladenovic with a 3-1 advantage.
Both women then went on to hold their respective games with relative ease. Mladenovic got into trouble once again but saved one break point brilliantly after coming up with a couple of smashes and finishing with a drop shot. However, she failed to hang on as an error allowed the German to capitalize for 3-4. Mladenovic seemed to channel her frustration from the previous game, firing right back to earn two break points. Maria gave it her all, but the Frenchwoman rifled a forehand winner to break for 5-3. Serving for the set, Mladenovic went on to comfortably close out the victory 6-4, 6-3.
It wasn't the best of serving from the Frenchwoman, who threw in seven double faults compared to Maria's two. The German also got in more first serves at 76 percent to Mladenovic's 52.
Both had their chances on each other's serve, with the German converting four of her nine chances. Mladenovic had more opportunities at 13 and was able to capitalize on six occasions.