May 31, 2017 / 2:37 AM / 8 months ago

Brave Mladenovic carries French hopes

PARIS (Reuters) - Local hope Kristina Mladenovic, tagged as one of the French Open favourites, will try to put her back problem behind her when she takes on Italian Sara Errani in the second round on Wednesday.

The 13th seed, who played through the pain in the first round after pulling her back, is looking to become the first Frenchwoman to win the title here since Mary Pierce in 2000.

“It is really huge if a French player can go deep into the tournament, it is really big for the crowd, for the tournament everybody wants to see this,” seven-time grand slam champion Mats Wilander told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: Mar 21, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Sara Errani of Italy hits a forehand against Belinda Bencic of Switzerland (not pictured) on day one of the 2017 Miami Open at Crandon Park Tennis Center. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

“They want to see a player who will give everything...  give them a huge performance,  give blood... leave it on the court it will be great to see her play.”

In the absence of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, Mladenovic has been tipped as one of the top favourites for the tournament after reaching the final in Stuttgart and Madrid.

After the local favourite’s back trouble almost forced her to withdraw from her first-round match, Mladenovic promised the crowd she would “fight until the end”.

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris

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