World No. 2 Simona Halep outclassed Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 6-1 on Saturday to give Romania a 1-0 lead in their Fed Cup semi-final against France.
French captain Julien Benneteau took a gamble on Mladenovic, who reached the top 10 in late 2017 but had won only 24 of her last 70 matches to slip to 66.
Mladenovic had won three of her five encounters with Halep but on Saturday struggled in her service games and did not have the tools to stop the Romanian steamroller.
In the second match on Saturday, France’s Caroline Garcia ranked No. 21 in the world faced Mihaela Buzarnescu, the No. 30.
By Dominic C. Odoh
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