WTA Eastbourne: Kristina Mladenovic books her place in the quarterfinals defeating Anna-Lena Friedsam

Kristina Mladenovic took to the court for her third round match against Anna-Lena Friedsam. It was the first time the two met with both vying for a quarterfinal spot at the Aegon International.

Mladenovic was trailing in the first set before finding her groove to take the first set. The second set was a much closer affair and it was settled in a tiebreak which went the way of the Frenchwoman who sets up a clash with Monica Puig in the quarterfinals.

Mladenovic recovers from a break down to seal the first set

Mladenovic got her first chance to break in the third game after a shot from Friedsam just went wide. Even though the German saved it with an ace, opportunities kept coming for the Frenchwoman and finally on her fourth chance Mladenovic benefitted from an error to edge 2-1. However, a couple of errors and a double fault immediately handed Friedsam a triple break back point. And her hard earned break was given right back with a double fault for 2-2.

The Frenchwoman was beginning to struggle on serve and was facing break points yet again. She rescued one of those but a failed drop shot then handed Friedsam the lead for 4-2. However, some excellent winners from Mladenovic gave her chances to get right back in the match which she did after an unfortunate double fault from the German.  

Mladenovic gets back on serve after falling behind | Photo: Glyn Kirk/Getty Images
Mladenovic gets back on serve after falling behind | Photo: Glyn Kirk/Getty Images

Friedsam followed it up with a poor game and a great defensive work from the Frenchwoman saw her grab a decisive break for a 5-4 lead. Mladenovic went on to comfortably close out the set on serve.

A tight set which is settled by a tiebreak

The Frenchwoman riding momentum was off to a great starting finding the break in the first game before easing into a 2-0 lead. It just wasn’t going the German’s way as she was under pressure once again. Each time Friedsam was able to fend off a break point another chance would come for Mladenovic as the game went on. Eventually, the German hung on after five deuces to keep herself in the set for 1-2.

Friedsam hung on to keep herself in the set | Photo: Steve Bardens/Getty Images
Friedsam hung on to keep herself in the set | Photo: Steve Bardens/Getty Images

The chances that she failed to capitalize in the previous game were almost looking to haunt Mladenovic who struggled and was in danger of giving the break back. The Frenchwoman came back from 0-40 down but gave away another break point and this time, the German converted to level for 2-2. Friedsam seemed to have found her groove winning her third game in a row for a 3-2 advantage. Mladenovic too held to level for 3-3 as both women started to hold serve with relative ease.

Things changed in the 11th game when a wild forehand from Friedsam gave Mladenovic a chance to get the vital break. The German saved it well but the Frenchwoman was knocking on the doors.  And Friedsam dug deep fending off three break points before holding for 6-5. Mladenovic who was serving to stay in the set showed nerves of steel to calmly hold to love and bring the set to a tiebreak.

Mladenovic serves her way to a tiebreak | Photo: Steve Bardens/Getty Images
Mladenovic serves her way to a tiebreak | Photo: Steve Bardens/Getty Images

Friedsam immediately lost the first point in the tiebreak giving the Frenchwoman the edge who then raced to a 3-0 lead. The German held her serve to close the gap to 2-3 but still trailed by a mini break. Mladenovic maintained her lead and further extended it to 6-2 after a delightful drop shot. Friedsam managed to save two of the match points but it wasn’t enough as Mladenovic closed out a 6-4, 7-6(4) victory. 

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