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The best season start of Kristina Mladenovic's career got even better today. 

Mladenovic fought off 19 of 22 break points subduing 2015 Indian Wells champion Simona Halep, 6-3, 6-3, to reach the BNP Paribas Open round of 16 for the first time in five appearances.

Watch: BNP Paribas Open Live Blog

The red-hot Acapulco runner-up has won 13 of her last 15 matches. 

"I think that match was a big win for me on the physical part, like, fitness part," Mladenovic said. "I think I could see that the efforts there she gave me was like.. because I was forcing her to give it to me, because I was there solid and hanging in there and putting sometimes balls back and being brave.

"I think I perfectly played the game plan I had. Solid at times, make her play balls and making her take some risk at the time. Sometimes when I had the shorter one, like, stepping in it, playing my heavy shots with the forehand, and I think that worked pretty well today."

The 28th-seeded Frenchwoman scored her second Top-5 victory of the season. Mladenovic upset world No. 3 Karolina Pliskova in Dubai last month. That victory came weeks after she claimed her first WTA singles title in St. Petersburg taking down Australian Open finalist Venus Williams along the way.

Poised to improve upon her career-high ranking with this Indian Wells run, Mladenovic gives an assist to her coach—herself—for her strong start. Playing without a coach has brought out the best in Mladenovic.

"I just think I'm the best coach for myself so far for now," Mladenovic said. "Without a coach, I think it's working really well for me at the moment. So I think I know myself the best. I think I know what things and what I have to work.

"I have a big team around me, still. My fitness coach is there, my hitting partner is there, my physio, my mom is there, family is there. Just tennis coach, I I don't know. I just know it better for myself, and I feel better like that. I mean, this is, like, a big decision. I think everybody has around a tennis coach. But I ask actually too much of a tennis coach... didn't work out in the past years. Always had the best results being alone."

Next up for Mladenovic is 38th-ranked American Lauren Davis.

 Photo credit: Christopher Levy

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