World No. 13 Kristina Mladenovic carried the French team to victory last weekend in the France vs. Belgium Fed Cup first-round tie, winning three matches to advance France to the semifinal round against the United States.
In the absence of French stars Caroline Garcia and Alize Cornet, Mladenovic stepped up and took command, taking both singles points with straight-set wins over Kirsten Flipkens and Elise Mertens. She then teamed with Fed Cup rookie Amandine Hesse to win the doubles match, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2, and clinch the tie for Team France.
Here's more on the lady who led Les Bleus to the Fed Cup semis.
The Kristina Mladenovic File
Birthplace: Saint Pol Sur Mer, France
Current Rank: 13
Career-High Rank: 10
Best US Open Finish: Quarterfinals (2015)
- Born in Saint Pol Sur Mer, France, Mladenovic comes from a line of athletes. Her mother, Dzenita, was a pro volleyball player; her father, Dragan, was a pro handball player; and her brother, Luka, is a soccer player.
- Nicknamed "Kiki," Mladenovic won the first pro title of her career at St. Petersburg in 2017, defeating Yulia Putintseva, 6-2, 6-7, 6-4, in the final to become the first Frenchwoman since Marion Bartoli in 2011 to win a WTA Premier singles title. She defeated Venus Williams and Roberta Vinci in straight sets en route to the championship.
- The Frenchwoman has played in seven US Opens, with her best result a quarterfinal finish in 2015. Unseeded in the draw that year, she knocked out 2004 women's champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the first round and No. 13 seed Ekaterina Makarova in the round of 16 before ultimately falling to Italy's Vinci.
- In addition to her singles success, Mladenovic is also a strong doubles player and is currently ranked No. 19 in the world doubles rankings. She has won 16 career doubles titles, including the 2016 French Open women's doubles championship (with Caroline Garcia), and has reached 11 doubles finals, including the 2016 US Open women's doubles final (also with Garcia). She has also won two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles with Daniel Nestor, teaming with the Canadian to win Wimbledon in 2013 and the Australian Open in 2014.
- Prior to her stellar Fed Cup performance, Mladenovic had been in a six-month slump; she had lost 15 straight matches and fell from the Top 10 of the WTA rankings.
They Said It!
"Yeah, this is my environment. Pressure is definitely an obstacle that I don't fear at all. I enjoy it. It doesn't mean all the time I'm going to be the winner out of it, but situations like this I absolutely enjoy." – Mladenovic told FedCup.com after winning her first match against Flipkens to even the tie against Belgium to 1-1.