Fed Cup: Kristina Mladenovic performs under pressure against Richel Hogenkamp to even the tie for France
Mladenovic levels the semifinal tie after day one | Photo: Corinne Dubreuil/Fed Cup

After Kiki Bertens had won the opening rubber to give Netherlands the lead, Kristina Mladenovic and Richel Hogenkamp took to the court for the second rubber. Pressure was on Mladenovic to win the match or else France risked entering the second day with a 0-2 deficit. In the end, the French number one got the job done with an attacking display of tennis showcasing her finesse. With Mladenovic’s 6-2, 6-4 straight sets win, both teams enter the second day on a draw.

Aggressive Mladenovic proves too strong for Hogenkamp

Mladenovic's aggressive intent was clear from the start. The Frenchwoman got the first break chance in the match in the fourth game. Hogenkamp could only save one break point as the Frenchwoman found the break to go 3-1 up. Mladenovic consolidated with ease for a 4-1 lead.

The French number one continued applying the pressure attacking Hogenkamp’s second serve at every opportunity. Hogenkamp’s double fault handed Mladenovic the chance to get the double break. Though the Dutch was able to save one, a cleanly struck off-forehand gave the Frenchwoman another opportunity to break. And this time she capitalized for a 5-1 lead as Hogenkamp fired long.

Mladenovic races to a commanding lead | Photo: Corinne Dubreuil/Fed Cup
Mladenovic races to a commanding lead | Photo: Corinne Dubreuil/Fed Cup

Serving for the set, Mladenovic lost her focus though and Hogenkamp managed to recover one break back. However, the Frenchwoman came right back knocking at the doors on the Dutch's serve and converted her third set point to clinch the first set 6-2.

Mladenovic comes through after a small stutter

An error-strewn game from the Frenchwoman gave Hogenkamp a few chances to get an immediate break. However, some excellent touches and smart placements at the right moments saw Mladenovic fend off the Dutch’s efforts to hold her game to start the second set. As Hogenkamp closed her game for 1-1, Mladenovic then meekly surrendered the break after back to back double faults.

Hogenkamp breaks the Frenchwoman's serve for the first time | Photo: Corinne Dubreuil/Fed Cup
Hogenkamp breaks the Frenchwoman's serve for the first time | Photo: Corinne Dubreuil/Fed Cup

That 2-1 lead for the Dutch did not last long as some ferocious returns got the Frenchwoman break back point. Mladenovic hammered a few forehands to get the break back for 2-2. The consistency she had on her serves in the first set dropped a little but the French number one found a way to hold for 3-2.

Hogenkamp once again struggled on her own service game but denied the Frenchwoman from taking the lead as she levelled for 3-3. Both players considerably tightened up their games as the match continued on serve and soon Hogenkamp was serving to stay in the match at 4-5. It was all Mladenovic though in that game as her patient and consistent play got her triple set point. And she finished off brilliantly at the net for a 6-2, 6-4 victory levelling the tie 1-1.

Mladenovic gets the job done | Photo: Corinne Dubreuil/Fed Cup
Mladenovic gets the job done | Photo: Corinne Dubreuil/Fed Cup

Match Statistics

Mladenovic was winning a high 75 percent of her first serves. Hogenkamp on the other hand was averaging at 62 percent. 

The Frenchwoman was doing a lot of damage on her forehand side unleashing 19 winners on that side while the Dutch managed just four. Mladenovic's net approach was on point as well as she won 10 times compared to Hogenkamp's one.

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