2016 Rioch Open

Mladenovic edges towards first title

French ace steamrolls past qualifier

Kristina Mladenovic soared into the Ricoh Open semi-final after dismantling Belgian Elise Mertens 7-5 6-3 at the Ricoh Open in the Netherlands.

The plucky qualifier’s fantastic run was halted by a top-class display from #3 seed Mladenovic, who had lifted the Roland Garros Doubles crown with French compatriot Caroline Garcia.

Mladenovic was never pushed after edging the opening set, and awaits the outcome of the all-Swiss tussle between top seed Belinda Bencic and qualifier Viktorija Golubic to discover her semi-final opponent.

Mladenovic will be hoping to compete against Bencic, her good friend on the WTA Tour, in order to avenge last year’s semi-final defeat here In ‘S-Hertogenbosch.

The Swiss teenager kick-started her incredible rise through the world rankings at the 2015 Ricoh Open, which included a tight three-set success over Mladenovic in their sole career meeting before she claimed her maiden WTA Tour crown at Eastbourne’s Aegon International.

Mladenovic, a Doubles specialist, has yet to win a WTA Tour Singles title so will be aiming to emulate Bencic when both compete at Devonshire Park this term.

The other semi-final sees Americans seek a place in Sunday’s final between Madison Brengle and the big-serving powerhouse CoCo Vandeweghe.

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