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Mladenovic into St. Petersburg final

Kristina Mladenovic

France’s Kristina Mladenovic returns the ball to Russia’s Natalia Vikhlyantseva, during the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy-2017 tennis tournament semi final match in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)


ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Kristina Mladenovic fought back from a set down to beat Natalia Vikhlyantseva on Saturday and reach the final of the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy.

In a match with frequent breaks of serve, Mladenovic served particularly poorly in the first set but dominated Vikhlyantseva, the world No. 115, in the second and third to win 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Mladenovic, who is ranked 51st, is seeking a first career WTA title in her fourth final appearance.

The 19-year-old Vikhlyantseva’s run to the semifinals means she will break into the top 100 for the first time when the rankings are updated on Monday.

Mladenovic will play either second-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia or Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan in Sunday’s final.