The defending champion of the women’s draw, Garbine Muguruza has been knocked out on a day of upsets, by the French hope Kristina ‘Kiki’ Mladenovic , in a thrilling three set encounter. The Spaniard was looking good to go all the way this year, after overpowering tough opponents in the earlier rounds of the tournament. Critics had been rooting against Muguruza right through the buildup for French open this year, due to her inconsistency on the tour, and also due to the tough and daunting draw that she was placed in. She did manage to silence the critics, after defeating former champion Schiavone and battling past Kontaveit, but she couldn’t silence the vocal French supporters this afternoon, who made it clear as to whom they favoured.
After the loss, as she was leaving the court, Muguruza raised a finger at the spectators and shook her head, clearly indicating that she was not happy with the way she was treated. Later on during the post-match press conference, as a reporter asked her about what she thought about Mladenovic shouting “FORZA”(Italian), during the match, Muguruza could not hold back her tears and had to leave the conference room for a while to compose herself. She later came back to complete the conference, and admonished the French crowd for being disrespectful and unkind. “The crowd today was a little bit tough for me,” said the Spaniard. “I understand (that Mladenovic is French) but, I just think that they should be a little bit more respectful. We had to stop. The chair umpire has to always calm the crowd down. I’m not here to create enemies. I mean, I love playing here. It’s not a good feeling.”
Muguruza was playing nowhere near her best today, as she failed to win clutch points, unable to finish off points at vital moments even though she had the upper hand in the baseline rallies. But to take nothing away from Mladenovic who came out all guns blazing, and showed no signs of nerves, she took advantage of the home crowd and Muguruza’s unforced errors, to seal the victory in three sets over the defending champion. Although she blamed the crowd for being irreverent, Mladenovic said she has played in harsher environments, and said that if a player cannot handle the situation it is the player’s weakness. She also went on to say that, just because the crowd has a favourite, it doesn’t mean that a player is at an advantage. She said that she felt an extra pressure on her shoulders as well due to the weight of expectations from the supporters, and that it was a mental battle for both of them.
After the ousting of the defending champion Mladenovic will face Timea Bacsinszky, who downed Venus Williams in another major upset. On a day of upsets, the other two major results were Caroline Wozniacki’s victory over former champion Kuznetsova and Sam Stosur being knocked out of the tournament. With most of the big names now gone, all eyes are on Simona Halep, who has been the favourite right from the commencement of the tournament, to lift the trophy. Will she be able to take advantage of the missing big names and write her name in the books of history? it all remains to be seen.