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By Alberto Amalfi | Saturday, February 11, 2017

Kristina Mladenovic

Kristina Mladenovic cracked 10 aces and won 27 of 30 points played on her first serve scoring a 77-minute win  over Belinda Bencic.

Photo credit: @FedCup

Kristina Mladenovic faced friendly fire with poise today.

Taking on good friend and sometime doubles partner Belinda Bencic, Mladenovic was all business.

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Empowered by her run to her first career WTA title in St. Petersburg last week, Mladenovic kept France in the running for a return to the Fed Cup semifinals.

The 31st-ranked Frenchwoman scored a 6-3, 6-4 win over Bencic in 77 minutes as 2016 Fed Cup finalist France evened its World Group tie with host Switzerland in Geneva at 1-1.

Dictating play with her serve and forehand, Mladenovic smacked 10 aces and won 27 of 30 points played on her first serve. 

It was Mladenovic's sixth straight victory.

Three of those six wins have come against current or former Top 10 players, including Venus Williams and Roberta Vinci.

Earlier, Timea Bacsinszky converted five of 14 break points repelling Alize Cornet, 7-5, 6-4, giving the host a 1-0 lead. 

Czech Republic 1, Spain 1
At Ostravar Arena in Ostrava, Czech Republic

US Open finalist Karolina Pliskova pounded 25 winners defeating Lara Arruabarrena, 6-4, 7-5, to even the tie for the three-time defending champion.

Reigning Roland Garros champion Garbine Muguruza staked Spain to a 1-0 lead with a 6-0, 3-6, 6-1 victory over Barbora Strycova.

Muguruza converted six of 16 break point chances in a two hour, six-minute victory to raise her Fed Cup record to 7-0.

“I felt a lot of pressure in this match,” Muguruza said. “I am number one. I know I just have to go for it and give my best to the team. I am very happy to be able to win.”

The third-ranked Pliksova will try to continue her winning streak against Muguruza when the two nations’ No. 1 players face off in tomorrow’s opening singles. Pliskova has scored four straight wins over Muguruza, including rallying for a 6-2, 6-7 (4), 7-5 victory at the WTA Championships last fall.

Strycova is scheduled to face Arruabarrena in the fourth singles.

Belarus 1, Netherlands 1
At Chizhovka Arena in Minsk, Belarus

Dutch No. 1 Kiki Bertens battled back for a 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4 victory over Aryna Sabalenka evening this tie after two hours, 22 minutes of play.

Belarus’ Aliaksandra Sasnovich opened proceedings rallying for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Michaella Krajicek. Sasnovich ripped 21 of her 32 winners from the forehand.

The 24th-ranked Bertens takes on Sasnovich in tomorrow’s opening singles followed by Krajicek against Sabalenka.

The winner of the Belarus-Netherlands tie will play either Switzerland or France in the April 22-23rd semifinals.


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