Playing her fourth WTA singles final, world No.51 Kristina Mladenovic of France survived two nervous patches that made her fail to serve out the match before squeezing past Kazakh Yulia Putintseva 6-2 6-7(3) 6-4 in the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy final.
After confidently winning the first set in 41 minutes, Mladenovic raced to a 5-2 lead in the second set, but choked when serving for her first WTA title at 5-3 and handed Putintseva her first break in the match. The world No.34 Putintseva, whose route to the final included stunning victories over two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and world No.5 Dominika Cibulkova, used the opportunity to turn the match around and after leveling to 5-5, the world 22-year-old broke Mladenovic once more and fistpumped her way to a 6-5 lead, before finishing the job in the tiebreak.
Wearing the light blue Adidas Melbourne Dress paired with printed compression shorts and the Adidas Adizero Ubersonic 2 shoes, Mladenovic opened the decider by breaking Putintseva’s serve and continued to dominate all the way to 5-1. However, when Mladenovic was serving for the match at 5-2, Putintseva saved three match points and yet again managed to stay alive, eventually winning three straight games. Serving for the match for the third time, Mladenovic finally converted her fifth match point!
Prior to the Premier-level tournament in Russia, Mladenovic scored no singles victories in 2017, and her first-round loss in January’s Hobart tournament was to Belgium’s Elise Mertens, the player whom she defeated in the first round this week. Mladenovic’s biggest wins during her run to the big title in St. Petersburg included those over Australian Open runner-up Venus Williams and defending champion Roberta Vinci. (photo via Instagram account of the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy)