Fed Cup: Kristina Mladenovic levels the tie overcoming Belinda Bencic in straight sets
Mladenovic gives France a lifeline | Photo: Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

In the second rubber of the day, Kristina Mladenovic was up against her good friend Belinda Bencic. Switzerland was leading after Timea Bacsinszky gave them the lead and it was up to the Frenchwoman to level the tie or it was a chance for Bencic to widen the lead. It was Mladenovic though who took control from the early stages and never really lost her grip as she took the first set. The Swiss just could not come up with a response and Mladenovic completed a 6-3, 6-4 victory to level the tie at the end of day one.

Mladenovic with serving masterclass to grab the first set

Bencic chose to receive and almost benefitted with an early break but Mladenovic came up with some big serving to hold in the opening game. Mladenovic turned aggressive earning a couple of break points in the fourth game. Bencic saved both but she was in trouble again and her shot went just wide to hand the first break to the Frenchwoman. Mladenovic then opened up a 4-1 lead with a good service hold.

Mladenovic was off to a great start | Photo: Robert Hradil/Iconsports Wire via Getty Images
Mladenovic was off to a great start | Photo: Robert Hradil/Iconsports Wire via Getty Images

She was once again attacking the Bencic serve to great effect. The Frenchwoman mixing it up by coming to the net and it was giving her opportunities to break. The Swiss though was coming up with big serves and big shots whenever she was facing break points. In the end, she came up with a gritty hold fending off four break chances to trail 2-4.

Bencic struggles to break through | Photo: Robert Hradil/Iconsports Wire via Getty Images
Bencic struggles to break through | Photo: Robert Hradil/Iconsports Wire via Getty Images

However, with the Frenchwoman commanding her service games, Bencic could not make a headway. Mladenovic then went on to seal the set 6-3 hitting 18 winners in the process.

Mladenovic takes an impressive first set | Photo: Robert Hradil/Iconsports Wire via Getty Images
Mladenovic takes an impressive first set | Photo: Robert Hradil/Iconsports Wire via Getty Images

Mladenovic broken just once as she wraps up victory

Mladenovic riding the momentum put Bencic’s serve under pressure once again. The Swiss was fighting hard but the Frenchwoman was working the court making the Swiss run all around and in the end earned the early break for 1-0. She was rarely troubled on her own serve and consolidated the break with ease.

Mladenovic maintains control of the match | Photo: Corinne Dubreuil/FFT
Mladenovic maintains control of the match | Photo: Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Bencic got herself on the scoreboard in the second set but her service games still looked shaky. The Frenchwoman hit some great returns got the advantage and broke once more to take a commanding 4-1 lead. However, as she looked to consolidate the break, Mladenovic played out her poorest service game to date and was broken for the first time in the match.

Bencic fights to take one of the breaks back | Photo: Robert Hradil/Iconsports Wire via Getty Images
Bencic fights to take one of the breaks back | Photo: Robert Hradil/Iconsports Wire via Getty Images

Bencic who looked down and out previously seemed to look alive once again closing the gap to 3-4. Mladenovic regrouped though and had a comfortable hold to put her within a game from winning the rubber. The Swiss miss was not going down without a fight and came up with a love hold to make the Frenchwoman serve for the win. Bencic tried to be aggressive on the returns but Mladenovic was serving well and there was no stopping her as she served her way to victory.

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