Kristina Mladenovic, seeded 13th, struggled to hold back tears after prevailing 3-6, 6-3, 9-7 in just under three hours, all the while encouraged passionately by her home crowd on Court Philippe Chartrier.
Kiki wasn’t even sure if she would be able to start the match due to a back problem. “Back feels so-so… Unlucky thing happened to me yesterday. I did a wrong movement and I blocked my back. This morning was way better, but it was really bad still for being, like, at the top level of playing. I took some medications when I went out at 3-0 (in the second set), and the doctor said to give it a try and see. … You know, I just dig in there. I really don’t know how I managed that.” Mladenovic said.
“Just extremely happy to give myself a chance to be still in the tournament, and I’m sure I will come back better,” she said.
Jennifer Brady, 88th-ranked, also led 3-0 in the third set before Mladenovic won the next four games, with the crowd loudly cheering every point.
“I saw myself going out. Honestly, from the first set I knew it would be difficult. Then, when I was leading in the second, that gave me a bit of confidence. At 3-0 (in the third), honestly I really panicked. Then ball by ball I came back, I just kept telling myself it was just a break. Then it ended up being a marathon.”
Mladenovic is confident of fully recovering before her next match against Italian qualifier Sara Errani, who reached the final in 2012.