Mladenovic shocks top seed Halep at AEGON Classic

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Kristina Mladenovic sprung the biggest shock of the tournament, defeating number one seed Simona Halep 2-6 6-0 7-6(4).

Mladenovic had been impressive in wins over seeds Eugenie Bouchard and Barbara Zahlavova Strycova in previous rounds but Halep looked a class above in the early goings, continually hitting the lines and forcing the Frenchwoman into numerous errors and taking control of the first set with an early break. Mladenovic was missing routine forehands on a number of occasions and one such error saw her broken a second time.

It felt like Halep would run away with the match in the second but in a bizarre turn of events, the World No.3 received her second bagel of the season (first vs Makarova @ Australian Open) in a disastrous second set. After losing a lengthy point at 0-1 to be broken, Halep would fall apart as part of a 7 game losing run aided by five double faults.

Halep did stop the rot in the third set as serve began to dominate with seven consecutive holds to begin the set in which the two players lost just four points on their first serve. However, a sloppy game at 3-4 saw her broken thanks to a number of forehand errors. Halep would break back after a Mladenovic double fault and recover from a 15-30 deficit in the next game to hold on. Both players held from 5-5 to force a final set tiebreak.

The players would match each other until 4-4 in the tiebreak where Mladenovic reeled off three straight points for an amazing win. Halep netted a backhand in a point she was dominating to bring up two match points but Mladenovic only needed one forcing the Halep error to move into the semi finals.

The loss marks Halep’s first as a top seed while Mladenovic is guaranteed a spot in the top 40 and puts herself in the running for a seed at Wimbledon, especially if she were to win this tournament.

She will play Karolina Pliskova in the semi finals after the Czech defeated Carla Suarez Navarro in the opening match of Friday’s play.


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