Kristina Mladenovic is through to her first ever Premier Mandatory final – and her fourth final of 2017 - after knocking out close friend and doubles partner Svetlana Kuznetsova in straight sets at the Mutua Madrid Open.
The pair set their friendship aside as they battled under the lights at the Manolo Santana Stadium, but Mladenovic bossed the big points and continued her torrid form to seal the 6-4, 7-6(4) victory.
“We know each other's game really well,” Mladenovic explained in her post-match press conference. “Today was kind of about tactic match, to surprise each other. There were 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. 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.”