2016 Rioch Open

Mladenovic stutters to last eight

French ace edges past qualifier

Kristina Mladenovic scraped into the Ricoh Open quarter-finals with a hard-fought three set success over qualifier Natalia Vikhlyantseva.

The French ace registering a 5-7 6-3 6-4 victory over the world #254 at S’-Hergenbosch in the Netherlands.

Russian qualifier Vikhlyantseva captured the opening set from a 5-3 deficit, reeling off the next four games with two breaks of serve.

Mladenovic bounced back from the shock of trailing, producing a more aggressive game and attacking the net at every opportunity.

These new tactics worked a treat, carving out a 5-2 lead before closing the set on her service game and force a deciding set.

Vikhlyantseva had quickly grasped what she was doing wrong and pushed Mladenovic around the court to make it neck and neck at 4-4 to keep the crowd fascinated by the encounter.

But Eastbourne-bound Mladenovic, who on Saturday had bagged the French Open Doubles crown with compatriot Caroline Garcia, was in no mood to bow out so stepped up her power and precision to claim the next two games and a place in the last eight.

Mladenovic admitted: “I’m a bit surprised to be in the quarter-finals here, but I love the tournament because grass is one of my favorite surfaces.

“I was thinking about pulling out of this tournament because of fatigue. I’m a bit tired, but I wanted to commit although I still feel like I’m playing on clay at Roland Garros.”

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