Defending Champ Halep, France's Mladenovic to Contest WTA Madrid Championship

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14 May, 2017

Kristina Mladenovic secured a Madrid Open final clash with Simona Halep following an impressive win over Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Victory meant Halep also became the first player in the tournament's history to reach the final three times, having finished as runner-up in 2014.

Despite visibly struggling with a back injury, Mladenovic bravely fought back from a set down to push Halep over the distance but eventually she ran out of steam. It's the second final lost this year for Kiki after Stuttgart two weeks ago.

The world No. 8 is seeking her first title on the 2017 WTA Tour.

The defending champion began her title defence against Kristyna Pliskova and it was a comfortable 6-1, 6-2 victory for the former world number two.

Cuevas is scheduled to play Austria's Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals after claiming a straight sets win over Croatia's Borna Coric.

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The on-form Frenchwoman responded by deservedly taking a high quality match the distance by winning a second set tie-break.

Unseeded Sevastova was playing her first semi-final at premier mandatory level, the grade immediately below grand slam tournaments. Later in the set, with Halep leading 6-5, Mladenovic was able to hold serve to send it into a tiebreak, and then won in five points to force a third set.

But she was up against the tall, elegant French woman Kristina Mladenovic who, until relatively recently, had been a big presence on the doubles scene. She pressed Halep hard in a long first game, and the Romanian made a couple of nervy double faults to help her opponent grab an immediate break.

The 14th seed will need to serve well and hope her forehand is firing on all cylinders.

"I can just be proud out there from both of us what we showed". Can Mladenovic make it three out of three? or will Halep resume normality?

Prediction: Halep to retain the title in straight sets.


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