With a number of seeds falling in the first round, second seed Kristina Mladenovic went unscathed picking up her first win on grass for the year. She was up against Risa Ozaki who has had a number of decent victories this past year. The Japanese almost stunned the Frenchwoman when she broke to serve for the first set. Mladenovic, however, broke right back before grabbing a tight first set. It was all Mladenovic in the second set though as she grew from strength to strength to cap off a 7-5, 6-1 victory.
Mladenovic falters but eventually sees out the set
It was a positive start by the second seed who found herself with an early chance in the second game. She put too much on her return though and Ozaki hung on and held. The Japanese herself had her chances in the seventh game after a poor game from Mladenovic. The Frenchwoman though was able to fend off both break points to nose ahead for 4-3.
It was looking like no one was gonna make a headway as Ozaki followed it up by saving break points of her own once again for a huge hold to level at 4-4. The Japanese was matching the Frenchwoman in most of the games and she then conjured up triple break points after Mladenovic sent her first double fault of the match. The Frenchwoman tried to emulate her previous fate on break points but could only manage to save two of those as Ozaki got the first break of the match for a crucial 5-4 lead. Serving for the set, however, seemed to unsettle the Japanese who caved in under pressure from an aggressive-hitting Mladenovic to give the break right back for 5-5.
With last year’s finalist holding her serve for a 6-5 lead, the pressure was back on Ozaki to bring it to a tiebreak. Mladenovic though was finding her zone and set up a couple of set points. The Japanese was unable to fend off and buckled as the Frenchwoman edged the first set 7-5.
Mladenovic growing in strength
The aggressive Mladenovic was in full swing in the second set. She was finding her spot with her favorite forehand and immediately broke for a 2-0 lead. The Frenchwoman was barely rattled in her service games and surged ahead to a 3-0 lead.
Ozaki eventually put an end to the rot of six games in a row won by Mladenovic and got herself on board in the second set. However, there was little she could to prevent the set from slipping away from her. Another blistering forehand from the Frenchwoman gave her an opportunity for a double break lead and Mladenovic capitalized for a commanding 5-1 lead. The second seed went on to wrap up the match in style with an ace to advance to the second round.