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Kristina Mladenovic defeated defending champion Garbine Muguruza on Sunday at the French Open.

By Jamie Lisanti
June 04, 2017

Kristina Mladenovic rode the French crowd on a packed Suzanne-Leglen court to help lift her over defending champion Garbine Muguruza on Sunday. After nearly two hours, Mladenovic defeated Muguruza 6-1, 2-6, 6-3.

No. 13-seed Mladenovic started the match off strong, blanking Muguruza from first ball in the opening set. But as the match went on Muguruza settled in—as the crowd settled down—and the Spaniard found her groove in the second set to force a decider. In the third set, Mladenovic again relied on the crowd to lift her game, and also ruffle her opponent.

"I think the crowd today was a little bit obviously tough for me," Muguruza said after the match. "I just think that they were a little bit, sometimes should be a little bit more respectful, even though for the game, because we had to, you know, stop....I know she's a French player, and I understand that. I went prepared out there. But it's always tricky when you have to defend your title and you have someone that's going to be a tough match, no matter in which country you play."

Mladenovic's serve seemed to be the key stat in the match. Despite hitting 16 double faults for the match, Mladenovic was able to hold onto a lead in the final set to defeat Muguruza and advance to the French Open quarterfinals for the first time in her career. She also advances to only her second career major quarterfinal (2015 U.S. Open). 

"I know she makes a lot of double faults. That was a big thing on the match, but she managed to recover all those points," Muguruza said. "I obviously was a little bit nervous....So it's true that I couldn't really find my game, but I don't think I did really something wrong out there. You know, I just think it went to her side, and that's all. There was, like, few points that she played well at the end of the match, and kind of that was it."

Mladenovic will move into the quarterfinals to face Timea Bacsinszky, who beat Venus Williams in three sets in a later match on Sunday.

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