Australian Open 🇦🇺 R1 Preview
🇰🇿 Yulia Putintseva vs 🇬🇧 Heather Watson
Heather Watson will begin her Australian campaign with a tough opening round clash against Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva. Heather Watson arrives in Melbourne with a renewed sense of confidence having gone through the qualifying draw to reach the semi-finals in Hobart last week. Putintseva and Watson are two players that have had some good success at the Grand Slam level given their rankings of outside the top 50. Who will win this battle and reach the second round at Melbourne Park?
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Heather Watson will arrive in Melbourne battle-hardened and with a good amount of confidence. Watson started her season in Brisbane where she won a couple of matches before falling at the final hurdle in the qualifying draw. Watson successfully made it through the qualifying draw in Hobart and made it all the way through to the semi-finals where she pushed Elise Mertens to 3 sets.
Yulia Putintseva was also in action in Hobart last week. Putintseva did claim a good win over Naomi Osaka in the opening round but was comprehensively beaten by Lesia Tsurenko in the next round. Putintseva competed in Auckland the week before where she suffered a disappointing opening round loss to Ysaline Bonaventure.
The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. Most recently it was Watson who won 6-2 6-4 in Wuhan.
Hobart International 🇦🇺🌧️ R2 Preview
(5) 🇺🇦 Lesia Tsurenko vs 🇰🇿 Yulia Putintseva
An interesting second round clash at the Hobart International sees the 5th seeded Lesia Tsurenko come up against Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva. Tsurenko and Putintseva both advanced to the second round in Hobart courtesy of straight set wins over tough, powerful opponents. Tsurenko got the better of Timea Babos whilst Putintseva was too solid for a wayward Naomi Osaka. Interestingly, it is Putintseva who has won the only two previous matches between the pair.
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Lesia Tsurenko was dealt a tough opening round draw in Hobart, drawn against Timea Babos, arguably the most dangerous unseeded player in the draw. Tsurenko was good enough to navigate her way to a 7-6 6-2 win over Babos. The opening set was very tight, Tsurenko had multiple opportunities to pull ahead but eventually claimed the opening set in a tiebreak. Tsurenko gained control of the match in the second set as the unforced errors from Babos started to rise. It is worth noting that Tsurenko had troubles with her serve during her first round match, a low first serve percentage and a very weak second serve. Tsurenko’s game from the baseline looked very solid.
Yulia Putintseva claimed her first victory of 2018 with an impressive 6-3 6-3 win over Naomi Osaka. Putintseva was easily the more consistent player throughout the match and never really looked like she was going to lose. Putintseva maintained a very high first serve percentage and also won a good percentage of points behind her second serve. Putintseva was broken just once, a good sign for Putintseva as her serve is usually her greatest weakness.
Putintseva won the two previous against Tsurenko. A 6-1 6-0 demolition in New Haven in 2015 and more recently in 2016 Tsurenko retired after Putintseva won the opening set 6-3 in Moscow.
Western & Southern Open, 🇺🇸🌉 Cincinnati R2 Preview + Prediction
(8) 🇷🇺 Svetlana Kuznetsova vs 🇰🇿 Yulia Putintseva
Svetlana Kuznetsova will begin her 2017 Western & Southern Open campaign on Wednesday with a second round encounter against Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva. As the 8th seed, Kuznetsova received a bye through to the second round in Cincinnati. The Russian will be keen to start the event strong as she looks to rebuild momentum after a disappointing first round loss at the Rogers Cup last week. Interestingly, Putintseva won the only previous match between the pair earlier this year at St. Petersburg.
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Roland Garros, 🇫🇷🐌 R3 Preview + Prediction
(4) 🇪🇸 Garbine Muguruza vs (27) 🇰🇿 Yulia Putintseva
A fascinating third round clash in Paris sees defending champion Garbine Muguruza come up against last year’s Roland Garros quarter-finalist Yulia Putintseva. Muguruza has managed to battle her way through a couple of tough matches to open her 2017 Roland Garros campaign, the Spaniard was forced to come from a set down to beat Annett Kontaveit in the second round. A fierce Muguruza will receive a confidence boost after that match but a determined Putintseva is always a tough opponent on a clay court and will look to make life hard for the Spaniard. This should be a close match between two very different players, both love playing on clay, especially in Paris.
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Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌴🐬 R3 Match Preview
(2) 🇨🇿 Karolina Pliskova vs (27) 🇰🇿 Yulia Putintseva
An intriguing third round clash at the Miami Open sees Karolina Pliskova take on Yulia Putintseva, a match-up that features a huge contrast in styles and characters. Karolina Pliskova towers over Putintseva, literally. The second seed has the big weapons at her disposal and a reassuring calm attitude. Whilst Putintseva has some of the best defensive skills on tour and one of the most volatile attitudes. All makes for an interesting match.
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🇦🇪 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, R1 Preview:
🇰🇿 (17) Yulia Putintseva vs 🇺🇸 Catherine Bellis
An intriguing first round encounter at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Monday sees the seventeenth seeded Yulia Putintseva come up against Catherine Bellis. Putintseva has made a brilliant start to the season and recently reached her career high ranking of 27 on the back of reaching her first final at the premier level St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy. This will be the first time Putintseva has been seeded at a premier 5 level event, Catherine Bellis is likely to pose a few threats for the Kazakh given the American has winning momentum on her side.
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Australian Open, 🇦🇺 Second Round Match preview
(31) 🇰🇿 Yulia Putintseva vs 🇱🇻 Jelena Ostapenko
One of the most anticipated matches on the outside courts on Thursday sees Yulia Putintseva come up against Jelena Ostapenko in what should be a fiery second round clash at Melbourne Park. Putintseva and Ostapenko are two of the most exciting young players to watch, both a very competitive and had a confrontational clash in their most recent meeting in Beijing last year where Putintseva emerged victorious. Ostapenko will be desperate for revenge whilst Putintseva is extremely hungry for another win over the Latvian.
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Brisbane International R1: 🐨
(3) 🇨🇿 Karolina Pliskova vs 🇰🇿 Yulia Putintseva
An intriguing first round clash at the Brisbane International on Sunday sees Karolina Pliskova come up against Yulia Putintseva on Pat Rafter Arena. This will be the first career meeting between the pair and will feature a huge contrast in styles and personality which should make for an interesting match.
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Season 2017 has arrived, the Brisbane International will once again be the headline act in the first week of the WTA calendar. Five of the world’s top ten ranked players will be in action in Brisbane: 2016 Grand Slam champions Angelique Kerber and Garbine Muguruza as well as Dominika Cibulkova, Karolina Pliskova and Svetlana Kuznetsova.
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Coupe Rogers, 1st Round Match Preview + Prediction 🇨🇦🍁
🇰🇿 Yulia Putintseva vs (16) 🇷🇺 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Yulia Putintseva and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will go head-to-head for the second time in as many months when they meet at the first round stage of the Rogers Cup on Tuesday. Pavlyuchenkova claimed a straight set victory over Yulia at Wimbledon last month, the Kazakh will be desperate to avenge that loss at the Rogers Cup but it will be tough against an opponent that she does not match up well against.
Yulia Putintseva’s form throughout season 2016 has generally been quite steady, 2016 has undoubtedly been the Kazakh’s best season thus far and seems like a turning point in her career. Yulia started her North American hard court campaign last week in Washington, Yulia made the most of a reasonably favourable draw to reach the semi-final stage. Yulia recorded a couple of victories over players ranked well below her without being too convincing and was ultimately no match for Yanina Wickmayer at the semi-final stage where she lost in straight sets, a disappointing ending to the tournament for Yulia.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will be competing in her first tournament since Wimbledon where she seemingly turned her season around with a confidence boosting run to the quarter-finals where she ultimately succumbed to Serena Williams in two tight sets. The Russian has generally struggled throughout the year but I expect her results to improve over the next couple of months, at a stage of the year that Anastasia has generally performed quite well.
The only previous meeting between the pair took place in the second round at Wimbledon last month, Pavlyuchenkova claimed a 7-5 6-1 victory. Pavlyuchenkova trailed 3-5 before winning 9 of the last 10 games in the match. Yulia should have a slightly greater chance on Tuesday, a hard court gives Yulia a greater chance because there will be more extended rallies but ultimately I think Pavlyuchenkova will once again be too powerful.
Prediction: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to defeat Yulia Putintseva in 3 sets