Kristina Mladenovic and Yulia Putintseva contested an unexpected final at the St. Petersburg Ladies’ Trophy last year.
In 2016, Kristina Mladenovic experienced success in both singles (reaching two finals) and doubles (capturing the French Open and finishing as runner-up at the US Open with Caroline Garcia). In 2017, after an early loss at the Australian Open, Mladenovic’s next event was St. Petersburg. Unseeded, she reached the final with wins over Venus Williams and defending champion Roberta Vinci.
Another unseeded player, Yulia Putintseva, also advanced to the final, the first of her career. The 2016 French Open quarterfinalist posted wins against Svetlana Kuznetsova and Dominika Cibulkova in consecutive three-setters on her path.
In the first set, Mladenovic—who had won two of her three previous encounters with Putintseva—was dominant, capturing it 6-2. It was more of the same in the second as the Frenchwoman raced to a 5-2 lead, a game away from her first title.
However, Putintseva wasn’t ready to cede the match yet.
The Kazakh broke Mladenovic as she served for the title and continued to rally, pushing the second set to a tiebreak and taking it 7-3 to level the match.
In the decider, Mladenovic was able to regain the momentum, staking herself to another big lead. As she demonstrated in the second set, though, Putintseva was more than ready for the fight and took three games in a row, denying Mladenovic on four match points. Putintseva couldn’t fend off a fifth, however, as Mladenovic clinched her first singles title with a forehand winner, taking the set 6-4.
Mladenovic’s first three career finals were on three different surfaces: clay, grass and hard courts. The victory here was achieved under her fourth different playing condition in a final, on indoor hard courts.
Between the two of them, Mladenovic and Putintseva defeated four of the eight seeds at the tournament.
Mladenovic became the first Frenchwoman to win a WTA Premier singles title in nearly six years (Marion Bartoli, Eastbourne).
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