Kristina Mladenovic: US Open Player of Day Seven


Sep 6, 2015; New York, NY, USA; Kristina Mladenovic of France reacts after winning the first set against Ekaterina Makarova of Russia (not pictured) on day seven of the 2015 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

US Open Player of Day Seven: Kristina Mladenovic

Kristina Mladenovic has always possessed the skills and weapons to cause damage in grand slam draws. Her dominating groundstrokes allow her to force opponents across the court. She also has excellent touch, both at the net and when utilising the entirety of the court, due to her doubles prowess. However, she has never been able to translate her very complete game into strong results. Until now.

On day 7 of the US Open, Kristina Mladenovic reached her first grand slam quarterfinal by taking out Ekaterina Makarova, 7-6, 4-6, 6-1.

The match was, for the most part, high-quality. Makarova did wilt in the final set, and Mladenovic also played two shocking games at 4-all in the second set to allow her Russian opponent to level the match.

But they both played a part in an exciting tussle. And it was Mladenovic who was able to better execute her game on the bigger points. Despite her inexperience playing on gargantuan grand slam courts under the lights, the Frenchwoman freely went for her shots, ultimately overpowering Makarova with sheer power, and outmanoeuvring her with tricky, all-court play.

The younger woman delivered an excellent performance that should serve her well as she continues to rise in the WTA rankings and journey deeper into draws. And as a result of her showing this fortnight, she will at least enter the world’s top 26. So by the time the Australian Open rolls around, Mladenovic won’t have to worry about meeting top-seeded players early on.

Mladenovic will next face fellow unseeded player Roberta Vinci, who benefitted from Eugenie Bouchard’s withdrawal. Vinci is playing fantastic tennis at the moment – indeed, some of the best of her career – and loves the US Open, having reached the quarterfinal in New York twice before. But the Frenchwoman has a bigger game, and if she executes it properly, has a fantastic opportunity to set up a semifinal meeting with one of the Williams sisters.

But whether or not she ventures any further in the draw, Kristina Mladenovic is our Player of the Day for Day Seven at the US Open.

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Some more winners and losers from Day Seven:

Winner: Williams Sisters

Serena and Venus Williams both produced remarkably high-order power tennis against Madison Keys and Anett Kontaveit, respectively, to set up a quarterfinal meeting with each other. Venus was fantastic, and could play spoiler to her sister’s hopes for a calendar grand slam if she continues her form.

But she won’t if Serena maintains her form from day seven. Serena struggled against Madison Keys in Melbourne this year. But she showed no signs of weakness against the young American, blasting countless winners and just SIX (!!!) unforced errors. If she can continue to play as accurately and aggressively as she did against Keys, she will undoubtedly be our US Open Champion in a few days time.

Loser: Eugenie Bouchard’s Head Injury

Just when it seems that Eugenie Bouchard is back on the path to her best and could break through to the quarterfinals at the grand slam where she’s experienced the least success, an injury forced herself to withdraw. Bouchard, apparently, knocked her head in a dark, wet locker room and suffered from concussion, making for a disappointing end to an encouraging week.

Winner: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga took out red-hot spoiler Benoit Paire in the fourth round to reach just his second US Open quarterfinal. Tsonga’s lack of success in New York is surprising given that his aggressive serve and groundstrokes are particularly potent on these fast hard courts. But he has looked incredible this week, refusing to drop a set on his way to the final eight.

He will next face Marin Cilic, and despite Cilic’s dominance in their head-to-head, could definitely strike his way to a semifinal meeting with Djokovic. And with Djokovic’s form dwindling, and Tsonga’s on the rise, this could be a solid opportunity for the Frenchman to reach his second grand slam final.

Former Players of the Day

Day Six: Victoria Azarenka

Day Five: Fabio Fognini

Day Four: Johanna Konta

Day Three: Madison Keys

Day Two: Caroline Wozniacki

Day One: Benoit Paire

Who do you think was the best player of day seven at the US Open? Let us know in the comments below!

Next: Power Ranking Serena Williams and the Top 25 Women Before the US Open

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