The Romanian player ended up winning other two games and she was up 2-0 in the second set, then Mladenovic broke back her immediately and they came to the tie-break without having any other break point.

The Romanian beat Dominika Cibulkova in straight sets in the decider of this WTA Premier event on clay 12 months ago, but she was made to work far harder by the 14th seed this time around.

She deflected more break points against her and closed out her sixth game on the bounce on her first match point to reach the finals for the second time in a row.

"I was a little bit nervous, to be honest, before the match, because she has a big serve", Halep said of her 6-1, 6-1 win over Vandeweghe. The defending champion's title defence was in major jeopardy, but she defeated the Italian, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (2). She will need to serve well against Mladenovic, and she will look to dominate proceedings from the baseline and dictate the rallies.

It was her 21st clay win from the past 24 matches on the surface.

Like Halep, Mladenovic won her quarterfinal and semifinal encounters in straight sets. She might have gone to a third set in her opener against Ana Konjuh, but the Croatian retired, but she did have to fight through three sets against Lauren Davis before coasting up to the quarter-finals. I don't want to remember the feeling that I had in the court. Once again, Mladenovic recorded an impressive victory over Halep in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, 6-3, 6-3. Can Mladenovic make it three out of three? or will Halep resume normality?


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