Kristina Mladenovic began her Dubai campaign going up against Katerina Siniakova. Both players had good starts to the season having picked up maiden titles. Mladenovic had never beat her Czech opponent on two previous occasions but it was the Frenchwoman who started strongly of the two. After a slight wobble, she wrapped up the first set. The second set was a similar story and Mladenovic went on to seal a 6-3, 6-3 victory to set up a second round clash against second seed Karolina Pliskova.
Mladenovic in control
Siniakova started things but it was the Frenchwoman pouncing on early errors to gain the immediate break. The Frenchwoman showed her intent right from the onset with some aggressive play and net approach to consolidate her early advantage. However, Mladenovic seemed to start to falter at keeping up the high level and almost handed the break back to the Czech. The Frenchwoman struggled with her serve and despite hitting four double faults was able to hang on to hold for a 3-1 lead.
For her part, Siniakova did what she could, having found her game. It did not last however as her errors were costing her handing a couple of break points to Mladenovic in the seventh game. The Czech tried her best to fend off the Frenchwoman but the pressure got to her as Mladenovic got the double break for a 5-2 lead. With the set on her racket, the Frenchwoman, however, made some cheap errors and double faults allowing Siniakova to get one of the breaks back. The Czech though could not make use of the opportunity to close the gap fluffing an easy shot at the net to give Mladenovic set point. Another subsequent unforced error then sealed the first set for the Frenchwoman.
Mladenovic fights off Siniakova
The set began with long service games each from either player. While Mladenovic survived hers to hold, Siniakova could not weather the storm and succumbed on the fourth break point to give the Frenchwoman the lead. Both then looked to have settled racing through the games as the match progressed on serve.
The Czech had a chance in the seventh game to break back but Mladenovic stood firm to cement her 5-2 advantage. It was the last chance Siniakova had on the Frenchwoman’s serve though as Mladenovic went on to close out the set this time with ease to record a straight sets victory.
Next up for Mladenovic
The win sets up a clash with Pliskova and the Frenchwoman is ready for the challenge recalling their epic clash last year in the Fed Cup finals. "For sure, it's going to be a difficult match but I'm going to prepare the best I can,” said Mladenovic after her win during her on-court interview.