Kristina Mladenovic survived a couple of wobbles to win her first WTA title in St. Petersburg and serve out the final at the third time of asking against Yulia Putintseva, 6-2 6-7(3) 6-4. And what a final it was! I haven’t been able to watch as much tennis as i’d like this year but this was my favourite match of 2017 so far.
The first two sets featured some HIGH quality tennis from both players. Putintseva came up with some delicate hot shots – yet it was a peak Mladenovic display, dominating with aggressive and thoughtful tennis, that saw her build a 6-2 5-2 lead. Putintseva wasn’t playing a bad match by any means. This was top 10, perhaps top 5 tennis from Mladenovic.
With some double faults, a bit of overforcing and a peak-Poots appearance, 5-2 in the second set quickly became 5-6. Putintseva was unable to serve out the second set but was the steadier in the ensuing tiebreak as the final went the distance.
Mladenovic refocused in the third set as she found her serve and forehand again to go up a double break and lead 5-1. However, there would be another twist in this wild final. Putintseva reeled off three games in a row and saved four match points, all with cracking winners!
Finally, on her fifth match point, Mladenovic got across the finish line. After such a great final it was lovely to see such sportsmanship at the end of the match.
This was a superb final and the stats back it up. This will be one to remember come the end of the year with the best match lists.
The trophy ceremony was bizarre with a John Newman concert immediately after the final which lasted a LONG time!
I’m relieved for Mladenovic that she got the win because this would have been a heartbreaker of a loss. The Frenchwoman has such a complete game and when in control, she is sensational. The nerves and focus in the pressure moments is still a concern but this was a monumental result for Mladenovic.
Credit to Putintseva for a superb week and a really gutsy display in the final. This felt like a game-changing week for Yulia. Her on-court antics have polarised many tennis fans but personally, I saw a different side to her this week. She was still intense and passionate but there was more of a calmness and control on court as she enjoyed her best week on tour, beating two top ten players in Kuznetsova and Cibulkova and reaching a first WTA final.
Elina Svitolina won her fifth WTA International title with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Peng Shuai in Sunday’s Taipei City final. Svitolina rallied from a break down in both sets, breaking three times in each set to wrap up the win in just 69 minutes.
It’s been a solid start to the year for Svitolina, posting a 10-2 W-L record through her first three tournaments. I’d like to see her really step up at a Premier tournament and Dubai would be a good place to start.
I’ll be taking a week off from the blog as there are no WTA tournaments next week with Fed Cup taking centre stage. I’m thankful for a bit of a break after a hectic Australian swing! My bodyclock is still a bit screwed up – I keep randomly waking up in the middle of the night 😂.
I’ll be back for the Qatar Total Open in Doha, which starts in a week. I’ll leave you with the current entry list for Doha via Tennis Forum (current ranking at time of writing in brackets). This paves the way for a fantastic qualies draw…
Angelique Kerber (2)
Karolina Pliskova (3)
Dominika Cibulkova (5)
Agnieszka Radwanska (6)
Garbiñe Muguruza (7)
Svetlana Kuznetsova (8)
Carla Suárez Navarro (14)
Timea Bacsinszky (15)
Elena Vesnina (16)
Barbora Strycova (17)
Caroline Wozniacki (18)
Roberta Vinci (21)
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (22)
Sam Stosur (23)
Kiki Bertens (24)
Caroline Garcia (25)
Daria Kasatkina (27)
Irina-Camelia Begu (28)
Timea Babos (30)