With the tie square at 1-1, Kristina Mladenovic and Kiki Bertens took to court looking to give their team the all-important edge. A close first set went the way of the Dutch before she ran away to a commanding lead in the second set. Mladenovic fought back in the second set but in the end it was not enough against a confident Bertens who won 7-5, 6-4 to give Netherlands the lead.
Bertens edges a close first set
Bertens with some immediate pressure got the early break to start off the match. Mladenovic then piled on pressure of her own converting at her second chance with a thumping cross-court forehand. Both women then settled in and held their service games for 2-2. An aggressive return from the Dutch earned her break point opportunity in the fifth game and this time she edged in front breaking after Mladenovic netted her forehand. Bertens consolidated the break for a 4-2 lead.
The Dutch had started to come up with big serves and it worked to her advantage but Mladenovic continued to hustle to keep herself in the match. And as Bertens was serving for the match at 5-4, Mladenovic came up with an exquisite drop shot to find the break back.
That huge effort to level the set went to waste though as a game of errors allowed Bertens to once again take the lead for 6-5. The Dutch got another chance to serve for the set and took it, wrapping up the set 7-5 in 50 minutes.
Mladenovic fights back it is not enough as Bertens impresses
A wayward forehand handed Bertens with an early break opportunity in the second set. Mladenovic came up with an audacious drop shot to save it but succumbed to another with constant pressure from the Dutch player. Bertens was fired up by now earning triple break points in the third game. Mladenovic saved twice before Bertens capitalized for the double break.
The Dutch was well in control racing to a 4-0 lead. A dramatic game though allowed Mladenovic to finally get on board for 1-4. Serving to stay in the match at 1-5, Bertens once again kept pushing the Frenchwoman and landed match point after a powerful return. Mladenovic though managed to dig out a hold to force Bertens to serve for the match.
Serving at 5-2, Bertens uncharacteristically hit a double fault before sending her backhand long on the next shot allowing Mladenovic to get one break back. The Frenchwoman reduced the deficit to one game with Bertens having another chance to serve for the match. Mladenovic could do no more as Bertens closed out the match 7-5, 6-4
Both women were serving well but Bertens was finding a lot more aces with 10 to Mladenovic’s 2.
The Frenchwoman also hit six more winners than the Dutch but had 46 unforced errors to Bertens’s 37.