The Rise of Princess Kiki
It wasn’t pretty. But let’s leave that to one side. Garbiñe Muguruza and Kristina Mladenovic both don a tennis court as if ready for a fashion show. I didn’t see anything in their game that was quite as elegant. It did get messy.
The ugliest shot in tennis must surely be the double fault and these were plentiful from both sides of the net. Kiki Mladenovic notched up 17 in a very nervy second and third set. She was leading 4-2 in the third and Muguruza had to keep it close. She did exactly that as she held serve and was now trailing the home favourite 4-3 and needed to break to have any chance of making the quarters.
The tension was high as they changed ends and the crowd was high on something too. Mladenovic held her nerve to hold serve without a double fault. Just one more break and the darling of French tennis, you had the feeling, would be crowned a princess if she could send the reigning champion home and deny her another chance to dance at the championship ball. She is now just two points away from doing just that. It didn’t take long as Muguruza put a forehand in the net.
The crowd bowed and cheered and the defending champion left the court waving her finger at the crowd for un-sportsmanship like behavior. She will be back, but for now, Kiki Mladenovic deserves our praise. She will face Timea Bacsinzky from Switzerland.