Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Kristina Mladenovic, Madrid SF Preview

Mutua Madrid Open, Semi-Final Preview + Prediction
SF #2: (8) ?? Svetlana Kuznetsova vs (14) ?? Kristina Mladenovic

Friday’s second semi-final from the Mutua Madrid Open promises to be a tight contest between Svetlana Kuznetsova and Kristina Mladenovic. Both ladies will enter this semi-final full of confidence, both survived early round scares in Madrid before powering through their last couple of matches to confirm a semi-final showdown. Kuznetsova and Mladenovic have been two of the most consistent players on tour over the last couple of months, all signs point to a very competitive match.

Svetlana Kuznetsova started the week with a solid win over Yaroslava Shvedova before grinding out a 2-6 7-6 6-2 win over Alison Riske, the American served for the match. Kuznetsova then went on to beat Qiang Wang 6-4 7-5 before producing her best performance of the tournament to secure her place in the final 4, a 6-4 6-0 win over Eugenie Bouchard. Kuznetsova really enjoys the conditions in Madrid, her heavy topspin game always her to control the ball in the high altitude conditions and clay has always been her best surface.

Kristina Mladenovic has taken a similar path to the semi-finals at Kuznetsova. Mladenovic came close to a second round exit, just scrapping past Lauren Davis in a final set tiebreak. Since then, Mladenovic has won two comfortable straight set matches over Oceane Dodin and Sorana Cirstea. The Frenchwoman has made the most of a favourable draw, in general Mladenovic is in great form having reached at least the semi-finals in her last four tournaments.

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Mladenovic won the only previous match between the pair, a 6-3 7-5 win at the U.S Open in 2015.

I’m going to give Kuznetsova the slight edge heading into this match. Kuznetsova’s superior defensive skills will probably get the best of Mladenovic as the match goes on, Kuznetsova also had more control of her groundstrokes and is less likely to breakdown under pressure. Kuznetsova will look to exploit Mladenovic’s backhand, the weakest shot on the court. Kuznetsova should grind out a win here.

Prediction: Svetlana Kuznetsova to defeat Kristina Mladenovic in 3 sets

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