WTA s-Hertogenbosch: Kristina Mladenovic overcomes Elise Mertens to reach the semifinals
Mladenovic is through to the semifinals after a straight sets victory | Photo: Ricoh Open

After defeating qualifier Natalia Vikhlyantseva in the previous round, Kristina Mladenovic was up against another qualifier, this time in Elise Mertens. Mertens had her first WTA main draw win in her first main draw match here and looked to continue her fine run. Mladenovic, on the other hand, was looking to better her previous quarterfinal showing here.

It was a pretty even first set with Mladenovic just edging it. The Belgian roared off to a good start in the second set racing off to a 3-1 lead. That lead soon disappeared though as Mladenovic bounced back strongly to win the next five games in a row to advance to the semifinals.

Mladenovic edges a tight set filled with untimely double faults

The Frenchwoman started off proceedings with a hold of serve. Mertens followed suit and the first real chance came in the fifth game for the Belgian after an error from Mladenovic. The Frenchwoman buckled under pressure and sent a double fault to give the game away to Mertens who then took a 3-2.

That lead was shortlived though as Mladenvoic got herself double break point on the Belgian’s serve in the eight game. Mertens was only able to save one of the points as she succumbed the lead to allow the third seed to level the set 4-4.

Mladenovic levels the set | Photo: Ricoh Open
Mladenovic levels the set | Photo: Ricoh Open

With both players holding serve with relative ease ever since it looked like a tiebreak was inevitable. The Frenchwoman though had other ideas as she put pressure on Mertens who was serving to bring it to a tiebreak at 5-6. The Belgian rescued one of the points but eventually gave in with an untimely double fault of her own to hand the set to the third seed.

Mladenovic falls behind but comes firing back

Mertens got off to just the start she would have wanted, breaking in the first game and consolidating to edge 2-0 in front. Mladenovic got herself on the scoreboard to trail by just the break at 1-2. The Belgian was looking sharp as she continued holding serve. An opportunity to get the break back came in the sixth game as Mertens handed Mladenovic with a double break point. The Frenchwoman only needing one as she fired back to draw the set level for 3-3.

Mertens lets the lead slip away | Photo: Ricoh Open
Mertens lets the lead slip away | Photo: Ricoh Open

And Mladenovic went ahead for the first time in the set at 4-3. The Belgian who had a 3-1 lead previously was in danger of losing four games in a row giving the Frenchwoman double break point in the eighth game. And Mertens’ catastrophic double fault woe was once again the culprit as she hit her 8th double fault of the match to go down 3-5. Mladenovic went on to wrap the victory to advance to the semifinals where she faces good friend, Belinda Bencic.