Kristina Mladenovic took on Carla Suárez Navarro for a berth in the semifinals with the right to play Maria Sharapova who ran out a straight sets victory against Anett Kontaveit. The pair had met two times previously but never on clay and the Spaniard won both encounters. However, this was a sharper, quicker Mladenovic looking to continue her good run. The Frenchwoman was just that throughout the match and Suárez Navarro just could not find a way through. Mladenovic went on to complete a 6-3, 6-2 victory in an hour and 15 minutes to progress to yet another Premier semifinal.
Mladenovic eventually finds the breakthrough to claim the first set
The Frenchwoman was quick off the mark and in the second game itself conjured up break points on the Spaniard’s serve. However, she missed them allowing Suárez Navarro to survive and hold for 1-1. Despite the next few games going on serve, Mladenovic was looking the sharper of the two moving well and firing huge forehand winners.
The Frenchwoman eventually got her chance again this time in the eighth game after Suárez Navarro gave away some cheap points. Her subsequent backhand flew long and Mladenovic got the break she needed to gain a 5-3 lead. She swung another one of her forehand winners and carved out a couple of set points. The Frenchwoman closed out in style with a cheeky serve and volley to wrap up the first set in 43 minutes.
Suárez Navarro has no answer for Mladenovic’s game
The second set began in the worst possible way for the Spaniard. Mladenovic with the help of the net found herself with a couple of break opportunities and immediately broke following an error from Suárez Navarro. The Frenchwoman continued with a comfortable service hold and the Spaniard followed suit to finally get on board on the second set for 1-2.
Suárez Navarro had another difficult game in the fifth where she had to dig herself out of trouble coming back from 0-30 down to eventually hold for 2-3 and stay within reach of the Frenchwoman. Mladenovic on her part was serving well and using the court well barely giving the Spaniard any look in her service games and it seemed like only a matter of time before Suárez Navarro would cave in.
In the seventh game, the Spaniard’s serve came under threat yet again. Mladenovic was moving with confidence rifling winners from all angles and earned triple break points. On her second chance, she absolutely smashed a return winner to come within a game from victory at 5-2. The Frenchwoman had not faced a single break point throughout the match and that stat remained as Mladenovic calmly served out for the win.