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Tennis-Mladenovic wins all-French battle to reach Zhengzhou quarters

Kristina Mladenovic won an all-French battle against eighth seed Caroline Garcia 7-5 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals at the inaugural Zhengzhou Open on a rain-interrupted Wednesday.

Sept 11 (Reuters) - Kristina Mladenovic won an all-French battle against eighth seed Caroline Garcia 7-5 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals at the inaugural Zhengzhou Open on a rain-interrupted Wednesday.

Mladenovic, the world number 49, kept things tight against Garcia, who is ranked 18 places higher, winning 71% of her first serve points and hitting 17 winners.

Garcia struck two more winners than her opponent but also made 33 unforced errors to Mladenovic's 19 as she slumped to her second defeat of the year against her compatriot.

"It was an extremely difficult day for everybody," Mladenovic said in an on-court interview, after rain delayed play for three hours during the day session. "I'm very pleased with my performance tonight.

"It's never easy to play against someone you know really well, but I think we showed great spirit. It was a quality match despite the conditions being very windy."

Next up for Mladenovic, who is the only French player left in the draw, is a meeting with either Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva or second-seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina.

Sixth-seed Sofia Kenin made short work of Alize Cornet, beating the Frenchwoman 6-4 6-2, while Croatian seventh seed Petra Martic bounced back after losing the first set to defeat Cornet's compatriot Fiona Ferro 3-6 6-1 6-2.

Top seed Karolina Pliskova was on the verge of losing the second set against Slovenia's Polona Hercog in the day's last match before the rain returned, leading to play being suspended with the score at 6-3 2-5.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

((simon.jennings@thomsonreuters.com; +91 8067497619; Reuters Messaging: simon.jennings.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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