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This Backhand by Kiki Mladenovic Is So Good, It Just Doesn't Make Sense

This was some Jedi-level shit here.

by Liam Daniel Pierce
Apr 30 2017, 4:08pm

French No. 1 Kiki Mladenovic is having a helluva week. Yesterday, she knocked out the five-time No. 1(though probably a little rusty) Maria Sharapova, who was just making her return from a 15-month doping ban. And now, Kiki's out on the clay, murdering backhands like this one.

In the Stuttgart final today against Laura Siegemund, Mladenovic was sawing her opponent back and forth over the court, when she took a risk by going to net. Siegemund saw an opportunity and found a way to cut the ball across court and into one of the more awkward placements for close play—it seemed like Mladenovic was doomed for a flailing attempt to catch even a piece of the ball. But somehow she did, and even though it seemed like it was going to rocket off into the stands—or the net—Mladenovic managed to hit the ball with a grace note, sending it back across the court into an impossible position. Point.

The only way for the ball to have gained enough height to get over would be to send it back the longest length it could have gone before hopping over—which was from pretty much where it came. It's a shot that required some insane comfort with racket positioning. This was some Jedi-level shit here.