Post Match: Mladenovic On Her Semifinal Victory in Madrid
Q. What was the key for you today? What particularly do you think you did well to hold off Sveta?
KRISTINA MLADENOVIC: Yeah, like I was saying in French, we know each other really well. I think we could see that our attitude, we kind of control it out there. We didn't, both of us, express to much. We have lots of respect for each other. Even if we just started playing together in doubles, we get along really well. We know each other's game really well.
Today was kind of about tactic match, to surprise each other. Time to times we both had, like, some bad moments because we would try too much to change our natural game.
I actually think this is a big win for me because Svetlana is such a big, experienced player. She has a perfect game for play, especially in the indoor conditions. I was struggling at the beginning. I like to put a lot of power sometimes. My tactics was to be aggressive and not let her control with her forehand and making me move.
But it was quite heavy clay out there, you know. The rain and everything… It was not easy for me to apply exactly my game. I think it was a great battle, her spins, heavy shots, those angles. If you let her, she can very easily open up the court and make you run. I mean, obviously no one likes it. That's why she's such a great player.
I mean, the score shows it, that it was just about some details here and there. I'm happy I could handle it, especially with the nerves. We could see that both were a little bit tight, which is normal.
Q. You obviously played a lot of matches this year. How are you feeling physically, holding up physically? At the end at 6-5, it looked like you might have had a strain in the lower back. How are you feeling physically?
KRISTINA MLADENOVIC: Yeah, of course, lots of matches, lots of effort, lots of fights. I kind of felt my back on one of the forehand shots. Luckily I could handle it somehow. I was trying to be relaxed and find my rhythm with the technique.
I hold my serve, and then managed to win the tiebreaker. I mean, this is normal things. I'm not sure anything is too bad. I will see with my physio, we will have lots of work to do. Hopefully when I wake up, I'll be perfectly fine for tomorrow's final.
Yeah, it's just the fatigue and, of course, lots of matches and everything.
Q. How much will you take from the experiences in doubles into tomorrow's final?
KRISTINA MLADENOVIC: Yeah, it helps a lot, everything what I'm doing right now since the beginning of the season. It's because, you know, I had lots of experience, lots of big moments I handled the pressure.
Even if today, for example, I didn't play this year on that court, I stepped in. I was like, Okay, let's try to find some memories from last year. We won the doubles final on that court.
It helps. It helps. Many moments in the match I also kind of saved with my kind of doubles IQ, volleys, overheads, very important.
It helps because I don't feel like anything is really new. I want to be there. I just try to find my way to keep improving and keep moving.
Q. You've had some great matches this year, some great wins. Where do you rank this win amongst some of your match wins this year?
KRISTINA MLADENOVIC: Today's match?
KRISTINA MLADENOVIC: Honestly, I think this one has maybe the most value for me. As I said, the first couple points and games I really struggled. I was like, Oh, my God, how am I going to do this? The clay was quite heavy. I was serving really good, acing a lot, serving quite fast the entire week. Today I kind of felt like I couldn't that much.
First of all, she's returning well, and it was slower. Then she's such a great mover. I felt like I couldn't really make a winner. I really had to force physically to go forward, to all the time push with my legs, put a lot of spins and heavy shots to try to find angles, not let her dictate the game, because otherwise she would kind of make fun of me.
She's going inside-out with the forehand, then you go in. You're constantly, like, running. She's such a big, experienced player, great on clay. Yeah, that's for sure a big win for me.
Q. Taking on your coach's hat. Would you say this match is a good preparation for the finals tomorrow against Simona, who is also someone very good at kind of manipulating the court, exploiting the clay court?
KRISTINA MLADENOVIC: Yeah, definitely. She's such a smart player, all around the court, I feel. She is developing her game in that way, that style, because she's not that tall, not that powerful. She's playing really well tactically.
She's moving really well. Her game suits perfectly on clay, I would say. She's one of the best players, playing extremely well here in Madrid, being the defending champion, always had good results in the past.
I'm expecting a tough match. Even though I'm leading in our head-to-head, we never played on clay, I think. That's going to be a brand-new challenge for me, especially that she's more used to being in a finals of such a big events than me, especially here in Madrid.
I really have to bring up my best game if I want to (indiscernible) to the title.
Q. Four finals this year. What do you think makes this final different than the three that you were set to compete in before?
KRISTINA MLADENOVIC: I mean, premier mandatory, of course. Everything kind of bigger because that's kind of a combined event. Feels like everybody's following much more this tournament than the others, like fans-wise, entertainment. And also the draw was bigger, I think. I had extra matches compared to the other tournaments where I reached the final.
Well, you know, that's the stages you really want to be at. When you see those big names, that stays in the tournament, also on the men's side, you feel like you're quite special.