Bartoli bows out, Mladenovic stuns Kvitova


Sun, Feb 03, 2013 - Page 19

French No. 1 Marion Bartoli bowed out in the quarter-finals of the Paris Open on Friday after a 7-6 (9/7), 6-4 defeat to Germany’s Mona Barthel.

Bartoli was aiming to cap her recall to the Fed Cup team this week after a nine-year exile with a maiden triumph in the French capital, but the world No. 10 came up short, faltering badly at key moments.

The third seed, runner-up in last year’s tournament, led 6/2 in the first-set tie-break, but squandered four set points as Barthel, ranked 45th, escaped from a perilous position to move in front.

The German then secured an early break that proved decisive in the second set with Bartoli unable to offer any resistance to Barthel’s serve.

“It was a difficult battle. The match was very hard physically. The first was very tough, she played extremely well. I thought it was a match with lots of intensity,” Bartoli said.

Barthel will now face French teenager Kristina Mladenovic in the semi-finals after the 19-year-old stunned world No. 8 Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-4.

Mladenovic, who was included alongside Bartoli in France’s Fed Cup team for next week’s clash with Germany, capitalized on three service breaks to take the first set and kept up the pressure in the second to send Kvitova crashing out.

Meanwhile, Italian top seed Sara Errani avenged her defeat to Carla Suarez Navarro at last month’s Australian Open, as she edged past the Spaniard to reach the last four.

World No.7 Errani was a first-round casualty in Melbourne following a straight sets loss to Suarez Navarro, but the Italian demonstrated her typical craft and determination to earn a gruelling 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 win in just over three hours.

Dutch player Kiki Bertens followed up her second-round win over Dominika Cibulkova — her first triumph over a top 20 opponent — by casting aside 18th-ranked Lucie Safarova 6-1, 7-5.

“It’s been an amazing week. My tennis is going very well, I’m very happy with that,” Bertens said.