Match Preview: Kristina Mladenovic v Tamara Korpatsch

It has been a very rainy start to the Ladies Open Lugano with not a single main draw match being played in this first two days but the third day of action is upon us and we have a particularly exciting match with top seed Kristina Mladenovic from France taking on German qualifier Tamara Korpatsch in the fifth match on Court 3. The favourite to progress to the second round is Mladenovic but only by a surprisingly tight margin.

Recent Form

This has been an erratic year so far for Kristina Mladnovic as she has been able to perform at some events while at others, she has lost to players she should be beating. The last time she got back-to-back straight set wins was in Fed Cup when she helped France to victory over Belgium with wins against Kirsten Flipkens and Elise Mertens. She could not carry that through into the Middle Eastern swing as she fell in the second round of the Qatar Total Open to Anna Blinkova and then the first round of Dubai Tennis Championships to Naomi Osaka. Her final preparation for the sunshine double was in Acapulco and she made it to the quarterfinals before being wiped off the court by eventual champion Lesia Tsurenko. The Sunshine Double itself was not very good either as it was a third-round loss at the BNP Paribas Open to Qiang Wang and then a second-round loss at the Miami Open to Petra Martic. There has not been much action on the WTA tour for Tamara Korpatsch this year as she has not played a WTA tour main draw but she has been active on the ITF circuit. She started the year with two ITF events in France in which she reached the quarterfinals of both before falling to Arantxa Rus in the first and Marina Melnikova in the other. She then played the Hungarian Ladies Open but failed to make it very far with a loss to Jana Cepelova in the second round of qualifying. Just prior to coming to Lugano, she played another ITF event in France and again made the quarterfinals before she fell to Anna Blinkova. It was not all smooth sailing in the qualifying here as she was taken to three sets in the qualifying final but eventually came through against Antonia Lottner. The edge in confidence has to go to Mladenovic due to Korpatsch not playing a WTA main draw match so far this year, which she needs a couple to feel comfortable to go out on a stage like this against the top seed.

Lugano Record

This is the inaugural version of the Ladies Open Lugano so neither Kristina Mladenovic or Tamara Korpatsch have played here before.

Head to Head Record

Kristina Mladenovic and Tamara Korpatsch have never faced each other in official WTA main draw match.

My Prediction

I think that this will be a tricky match for Kristina Mladenovic not necessarily because of the quality of Tamara Korpatsch but more because she will be fighting mental demons in terms of her recent form. I do not think that she will be thinking about that when the match starts though as she will come playing free tennis and play quite well as Korpatsch, who would not be used to the high-quality play of the top women, won’t quite be prepared for what she will be getting. I think that will see her struggle early on and eventually it might all come too much and she will drop the opener 6-0. I think for the start of the second set, Korpatsch will come out hitting freely and Mladenovic might see some errors start coming in due to nerves. I see a similar situation to the opening set happening here as Mladenovic will go down an early break and get overwhelmed and drop the second set 6-1 because I see her getting that single game early on. To start the decider, Mladenovic will be able to calm down mentally and I think she will take an early lead but as she gets closer to the win the nerves will come back and Korpatsch will level the scores up. However, as the match gets tighter I think that the experience will start to shine through from Mladenovic and she will hold it together in the end to capture the 6-0, 1-6, 7-5 win.

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