The number 13 seed, Caroline Wozniacki will play the number 28 seed, Kristina Mladenovic on Thursday for a place in the semi-finals of the 2017 BNP Paribas Open. Both players have yet to drop a set this week in the desert.
Mladenovic d. Davis, 6-3 6-3
Mladenovic was never once behind in a routine fourth round win over an erratic, Lauren Davis. The American showed plenty of intent to be aggressive but was spraying her groundstrokes in the first set and not building the points particularly well, often pulling the trigger too early. Mladenovic was serving well although she had her customary wobble trying to close out a set, chucking in a few double faults at *5-2. The Frenchwoman broke straight back to win the opener.
Davis improved in the second set, matching aggression with precision – she scored an early break but could not consolidate. The set seemed pretty even until Mladenovic produced some remarkable defence at *3-3 *30-15, digging out a forehand and then successfully chasing down a drop shot (see below). From there on, the momentum was firmly with Mladenovic who held to 4-3 with an ace and then strolled through the final two games with Davis reverting back to her level from the first set and producing some costly misses. Mladenovic served out the match to love with a confident service game.
Wozniacki d. Keys, 6-4 6-4
In a very similar scoreline to their first match at the US Open last year, Wozniacki saw off Keys with a measured display. The Dane dropped her serve just once in the match and consistently looked for the Keys backhand, the weaker side of the American. Keys showed some nice touch at times but committed too many errors into the net. This was always going to be a tough one playing her first tournament of the year. Lindsay Davenport came on during the second set and told her to fight. She did just that, holding onto her serve from then on, but was unable to get involved in Wozniacki’s service games who remained focused on the task at hand, serving out the match to love.
Head-to-head record: Wozniacki leads Mladenovic, 3-0 in their head-to-head – their most recent match was an entertaining affair as Wozniacki saw off an injured but tenacious Mladenovic in the final of Hong Kong, 6-1 6-7(7) 6-2.
Interesting stat: Mladenovic has already won 14 singles matches on the WTA tour – it took her until Eastbourne in June last year to reach the same tally. The Frenchwoman is into her first ever quarter-final at a Premier Mandatory tournament.
Final thoughts: Both Wozniacki and Mladenovic are having great years and this should pave the way for an exciting match of differing styles. Since their last meeting in Hong Kong towards the end of 2016, both are playing with more confidence – Mladenovic has shored up her game while Wozniacki has improved mentally, playing a ton of matches and front-running matches much more convincingly.
Wozniacki has been rock solid this week and her game has been laced with some aggression when an opening arises. Mladenovic has all the tools at her disposal but the question will be whether she can put it altogether. Perhaps more crucial considering she has never beaten Wozniacki before and will be playing one of the biggest singles matches of her career so far, is whether she has the nerve and poise to close out this match if she were to get into a winning position.