PARIS (AP) — Kristina Mladenovic played through pain to hold off Jennifer Brady of the United States and reach the second round of the French Open on Monday.
Mladenovic, seeded 13th, struggled to hold back tears after prevailing 3-6, 6-3, 9-7 in just under three hours, all the while encouraged passionately by her home crowd on Court Philippe Chartrier.
She wasn’t even sure if she would be able to start the match because of a back problem, and had to go off the court for treatment when she was 3-0 down in the opening set.
“Back feels so-so,” she said. “Unlucky thing happened to me yesterday. I did a wrong movement and I blocked my back.
“This morning was way better, but it was really bad still for being, like, at the top level of playing. I took some medications when I went out at 3-0, and the doctor said to give it a try and see. … You know, I just dig in there. I really don’t…