I previewed Kristina Mladenovic's R3 match up with Shelby Rogers.............
Pre tournament I wrote about Mladenovic...........huge year, big talent, just broken into top 20, former Junior winner here and won doubles with Garcia last year, BUT no form as a senior at RG and she and all the French players have to deal with huge levels of expectation and pressure as the local hope and none of them seem able to handle it.
She was in big trouble in R1 against Jennifer Brady, looked under that pressure, with the weight of the world on her shoulders, injured and on her way out, but edged home, she then beat Sara Errani easily, but the Italian matches up badly with her and just doesn't have the weapons to trouble one of the big players nowadays, unless they under perform. I think that Mladenovic will be asked more questions today by Shelby Rogers who made the last 8 here 12 months beating two players on enroute with similar big serving games to the Frenchwoman, in Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova and then lost narrowly to eventual champion Garbine Muguruza.
The pair have met once previously , at New Haven on a hardcourt last year, with Rogers winning 1&1, of course the American played well, you only have to look at the scoreline but her second serve (73%) and returning (58%) stats were especially impressive and that result and performance will give her confidence today, as will her exploits here at Roland Garros last year. Mladenovic has never made it beyond this stage of the French Open and has a losing record here against top 50 players and has dropped at least a set in 8 of ten of those . Rogers likes a big target and has won her last three matches against players like Mladenovic who are 1.83m + and has won 5/6 on clay against those 1.77m + with the only loss being to Muguruza who would not have lost to anyone last year.
Mladenovic won 7-5 4-6 8-6 , she was 5-2 down in the third, but took 6 of the last 7 games to register the win. Today she is going to have to step up one more level to defeat defending champion Garbine Muguruza who is at long last starting to show us glimpses of that amazing form of 12 months ago and also, that some of those demons that have been troubling her have subsided and she has looked more at peace with herself. I doubt they are too far away, but on her day, she is the best female clay court player on the planet and for a set and a bit against both Anett Kontaveit and Yulia Putintseva, she showed us that. Muguruza is simply unplayable on dirt when she gets into that groove and anything that Rogers brings to the party on the surface, you can multiply by two with the Spanish player, at least in a physical sense, but it is only coming for a set + at present, not two and she will give opponents a few easy games. Both these two often play their best tennis when behind, their only previous meeting came on clay in Marrakech two years and the Frenchwoman won 7-6 7-6, but don't think that was some serving masterclass, as there were 10 breaks of serve that day.
Mladenovic is 4-4 on clay v top ten, she has taken a set in 6 of the last 7, only failure was against Serena here when she lost 6-4 7-6 (12-10).
Muguruza is a surprising 7-10 v top 20 on the surface, but has won 4 of the last 5 she has completed (not retired), both matches played against opponents as tall as Mladenovic went the distance (1-1).
1.5 units "over" 22 games 2.02 Pinnacle/Sportmarket Pro.