Garbine Muguruza (ESP) vs.  Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)
There are several reasons why it was not a surprise that Mladenovic was able to defeat the defending champion, Muguruza, today. The three most important reasons are: Mladenovic has beaten her in their only previous encounter, which was also on clay; Muguruza has been suffering from a crisis in confidence since she won the title last year; and finally and perhaps most important, Mladenovic had the entire French crowd rooting for her. The adrenaline surge that a player gets from such an occasion is well documented; it’s why some players excel when they play in Fed Cup or Davis Cup (James Ward and Leonardo Mayer come to mind).
Mladenovic suffered with her back earlier in the tournament and many were concerned about how she would hold up as the tournament progressed, especially since she is still playing in doubles. So far, her improved physical fitness has been a plus and she does not appear to be struggling excessively with her movement or her back. Winning breeds confidence and right now she is riding that wave of confidence. The women’s draw remains wide open this year, with the number one seed going out in the first round and the number two seed not playing her best so far on this surface. Is this the opportunity the French was looking for? Will Mladenovic be the first Frenchwoman to win the trophy since Mary Pierce did so in 2000?
American hearts got broken today when the last two Americans remaining in the singles draws, Venus Williams and John Isner, lost. We will have to wait until next year to see if we can have an American male breakthrough and win the title. As for the women, we will have to wait and see if any will find a way to conquer the clay since Serena Williams.
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