French seed bounces back from service wobbles
Kristina “Kiki” Mladenovic, the world no.1 at Doubles, edged closer to adding to her only WTA Tour Singles title with a tricky three set triumph over Kurumi Nara 6-2 5-7 6-2.
The Dubai-based six footer made a solid start to race away with the opening set, but then wobbled with her normally reliable service game.
No.7 seed Mladenovic was gradually ground down in the second set. Patient tactics by her Japanese opponent, who stands almost a foot shorter but tosses the ball exceptionally high on her serves, hit a string of punishing forehand winners to level matters.
But the French ace, who has never progressed past the 3rd Round at Wimbledon, was soon back to her best in the decisive set to secure her last 16 berth against either no.12 seed Nao Hibino of Japan or American Caty McNall.