USA and France Tied at 1-1 After Day One of the Fed Cup Semifinals
(April 21, 2018) Sloane Stephens of the United States saved 5 set points in the first set to beat France’s Pauline Parmentier 7-6 (3), 7-5, while in the second rubber, France’s Kristina Mladenovic rallied to beat CoCo Vandeweghe 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 to end Day One of the Fed Cup tied 1-1 between the US and France in Aix-En-Provence, France.
The first match was not the cleanest of contests, with both players making more 50 unforced errors each on the indoor clay. Despite the errors and having to fight back in the first set, Stephens will take the win, her first in singles in Fed Cup.
“It was great,” she said. “Obviously Fed Cup is super special for me. I haven’t gotten that many wins in Fed Cup play so I was really happy to get that one today.”
“It was a battle,” Stephens continued. “She played really well today and I was just
happy that I was able to keep fighting and stay in the match. Even when I was down set point, I was able to play good tennis.”
“Just keep fighting. I was going to get my opportunities, so I just wanted to make sure that I stayed in the match and made her play as much as possible.”
“It was obviously a tough day,” said US Fed Cup Captain Kathy Rinaldi. “They were both great matches, great battles. It’s 1-1, we’re going to come out strong tomorrow, we’re going to get ready and come out and compete again.”
France’s Captain Yannick Noah talked about the two very different matches: ”So much going on, emotions, it comes down to a couple points can change the whole vibration, the whole feeling of the game. I thought we had the first match, I thought we had it. We’re in front, whether it was like the way she played but also mental then all of a sudden it slipped away. It came down to a couple points and then the whole thing changes. Then it was the same in the second match but the other way around where Coco was playing so well. She didn’t miss a shot for a set and we were just hoping that she would have a let down for a couple games which happened. And when it happened, then Kiki got into it and then Kiki played really, really well.”
Mladenovic talked about the difference between the first set and the last two: “I just think she came out with a tremendous high percentage of everything she was trying to do. There’s a reason why she broke into Top 10 last year. She’s very powerful, serving big and playing big and sometimes there’s not much you can do. Couldn’t really instill my game over there, everything was pretty fast. I thought I didn’t return well. Maybe the thing I could improve was the percentage of my first serve. Honestly, not much I could do. I felt like she was making everything she wanted. It’s a match, it’s one set. I kept believing and telling myself she would give me some opportunities and not play like this for two sets without giving me any opportunities, so I went back out there. I served a pretty good first game and dug deep and kept on fighting and at some point trying to be smart. As we were on clay, it’s my favorite surface and I was trying to put some more angles, more spin, winning some points with slices, and eventually it turned around a little bit and then I really felt like mentally I came back strong in the game.”
Mladenovic talked about the big difference between going into Day 2, 1-1 and 0-2.
“It’s a huge difference. I’m really proud of my teammate. I think Pauline [Parmentier] did a tremendous job. She showed such great courage over there. Sloane is a Top 10 player in full confidence, winning Miami, and she went out and showed what she’s got. I was really disappointed for her because I thought she had way more opportunities than Sloane had. This outcome is a bit frustrating for her, for us, but it gave me even more motivation somehow because she gave it all out there.”
“To step in on the court once more with the team being down 1-0 I have to say is never easy, especially when CoCo plays like that, but mental strength just keep on
fighting and obviously it is a very big advantage for us to go back tonight with one-all and anything can happen tomorrow.”
The reverse singles are on Sunday, followed by a doubles match. Scheduled to play are Mladenovic and Amandine Hesse for France against Madison Keys and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
The US has an 11-2 winning record against France in Fed Cup.
April 21, 2018
Saturday, 2 p.m. (8 a.m. ET)
Singles A: Sloane Stephens (USA) def. Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 7-6(3), 7-5
Singles B: Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) def. CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) 1-6, 6-3, 6-2
Order of Play
April 22, 2018
Sunday, 1 p.m. (7 a.m. ET)
Singles C: Sloane Stephens (USA) vs. Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)
Singles D: CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) vs. Pauline Parmentier (FRA)
Doubles: Madison Keys/Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) vs. Kristina Mladenovic/Amandine Hesse (FRA)