Simona Halep vs. Yulia Putintseva, Rome QF Preview

Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome QF preview + prediction
?? (1) Simona Halep vs. ?? Yulia Putintseva

The first quarter-final of the day at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia sees the top seeded Simona Halep take on an in-form Yulia Putintseva. Both players bring a heap of confidence into this match, Halep is on an 11-match winning streak whilst Putintseva is arguably in career best form.

Simona Halep of Romania in action during the third round at the 2020 Internazionali BNL d’Italia WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Halep is easing her way into the tournament in Rome, a clear favourite to win the title heading into the business end of the event. Halep started the week with a 6-3 6-4 win over Jasmine Paolini before navigating her way past the dangerous Dayana Yastremska with a 7-5 6-4 victory. Halep is a two-time runner-up in Rome and will be keen to go one step better in 2020. The signs are good, the reigning Wimbledon champion is in great shape in all departments.

Putintseva arrived in Rome fresh from a quarter-final showing at the US Open. The 25-year-old has come through a couple of epic matches to reach the final 8 in Rome. The Kazakh started the event with an easy enough 6-2 6-4 win over Rebecca Peterson, then things got a complicated. A 6-3 6-7 6-4 win over the 8th seeded Petra Martic was followed by a 4-6 7-6 6-2 win over Elena Rybakina, Putintseva was down a set and 1-4 in her match with Rybakina before completing a memorable comeback.

The only previous meeting between the pair took place at the Australian Open earlier this year, Halep won 6-1 6-4.

I expect Halep to win this match comfortably. Firstly, this is a great match-up for Halep, Putintseva doesn’t have the weapons to hurt Halep, whilst Halep has the stamina to outlast Putintseva from the back of the court. There is no way through for Putintseva. Furthermore, Putintseva is coming off a pair of draining battles, she is surely running on empty having also just arrived in Europe after her deep run at the US Open. Meanwhile Halep is fresh and firing. Everything is in Halep’s favour.

Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Yulia Putintseva in 2 sets

Petra Martic vs. Yulia Putintseva, US Open R4 Preview

2020 US OPEN – R4 preview + prediction: ??
?? (8) Petra Martic vs. ?? (23) Yulia Putintseva

Petra Martic and Yulia Putintseva will both be playing to reach the quarter-final stage at the US Open for the very first time when they do battle in a crucial fourth round match at Flushing Meadows on Sunday. Martic and Putintseva are both former quarter-finalists at Roland Garros, both know what it takes at this level, expect a tight match between these two, who will come out on top on the first career meeting between the pair?

Petra Martic is through to the fourth round stage at the US Open for the second year in a row. The 8th seed survived a scare in the opening round when she stumbled past Tereza Martincova 5/7 6/2 6/4. Martic’s last couple of matches have been less complicated against favourable opponents, a 6/3 6/4 win over Kateryna Bondarenko, followed by a 6/3 6/3 victory against Varvara Gracheva. The draw has opened up for Martic and she has been good enough to take advantage, can she keep her run going?

Yulia Putintseva is through to the fourth round at the US Open for the first time, her first appearance in the second week of a major outside of Roland Garros. The 23rd seed started the event with a 6/1 6/3 win over Robin Montgomery, followed by a 6/3 6/3 victory against Vera Lapko. Putintseva has also had a favourable draw, the Kazakh secured her spot in the fourth round with a 3/6 6/2 6/1 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich. A mature performance from Putintseva over the first week.

This is a match-up that features a lot of variety, the great strength for both Martic and Putintseva is variety, this will make for an interesting clash as they go head-to-head for the first time. I’ll side with Putintseva here. I prefer Martic in a match-up against a bigger hitter, she will need to generate her own pace in this match-up, she will need to make the plays instead of disrupting her opponent and may be frustrated by the defensive skills of Putintseva who isn’t usually too bothered by slice or drop shots. Putintseva always raises her level on the big stage, expect the Kazakh’s superior movement, stamina and flare to see her through this one.

Prediction: Yulia Putintseva to defeat Petra Martic in 3 sets
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Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Yulia Putintseva, Doha R1 Preview

Qatar Total Open, Doha R1 Preview + prediction:
?? Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. ?? Yulia Putintseva

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Yulia Putintseva will go head-to-head for the first time in over 3 years when they meet at the opening round stage of the 2020 Qatar Total Open. It is Pavlyuchenkova who will head into this clash as the strong favourite. Pavlyuchenkova has made a stronger start to the season, the Russian notably reached the final 8 at the Australian Open and has also won the only 2 previous meetings between the pair.

Pavlyuchenkova arrives in Doha fresh from a second round exit in Dubai. Pavlyuchenkova made a miracle comeback in her opening round match, the Russian dropped the first 19 points to Belinda Bencic but flipped the script to claim a memorable 1-6 6-1 6-1 victory over the fourth seed. Unfortunately, Pavlyuchenkova was unable to keep her run going in Dubai, beaten by Anett Kontaveit 6-7 5-7 despite being up a break of serve in each set.

Yulia Putintseva had made a decent start to her 2020 campaign. Putintseva claimed a few good wins at the Australian Open over Su-Wei Hsieh and Danielle Collins before succumbing to Simona Halep in straight sets. Putintseva arrives in Doha fresh from a week off after her disappointing opening round exit in St. Petersburg to Veronika Kudermetova in 3 sets.

Pavlyuchenkova holds a perfect 2-0 record over Putintseva. Both of the previous matches between the two took place in 2016, a 7-5 6-1 victory for Pavlyuchenkova at Wimbledon followed by a 6-4 1-6 7-5 win at the Rogers Cup.

I’m going to side pretty confidently with Pavlyuchenkova. It is Pavlyuchenkova who has made the brighter start to the year and who is favoured by the conditions and match-up. Pavlyuchenkova is more dangerous on a hard court and should be too powerful for Putintseva. Pavlyuchenkova’s strong baseline game will cause Putintseva all types of problems, especially the Russian’s aggressive return of serve which will expose Putintseva’s weak serve. Once Pavlyuchenkova gets in a big first strike it will be hard for Putintseva to recover in the rally on this surface. Pavlyuchenkova should win this easily.

Prediction: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to defeat Yulia Putintseva in 2 sets
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Simona Halep vs. Yulia Putintseva, Australian Open R3 Preview

?? Australian Open, R3 preview + prediction:
?? (4) Simona Halep vs. ?? Yulia Putintseva

Simona Halep and Yulia Putintseva will go head-to-head for the first time when they meet at the third round stage of the Australian Open on Saturday. This promises to be an entertaining match-up between two great competitors and two of the quickest players on tour, expect a lot of long rallies in this one!

Simona Halep has done well to navigate her way through the first couple of rounds without dropping a set. Halep started her Melbourne Park campaign with a hard-fought 7/6 6/1 victory over an in-form Jennifer Brady before defeating Harriet Dart 6/2 6/4. Both of Halep’s matches have had their complications, the fourth seed twice fought from a break down in the opening set against Brady and almost blew a 5-1 lead in the second set against Dart. In general, Halep has looked good, now that the reigning Wimbledon champion has her teeth stuck into the tournament she will be hard to stop from here.

Yulia Putintseva has equaled her best result at Melbourne Park by reaching the third round, matching her run from 2016. The Kazakh has overcome a very tough draw to get to the round of 32. Putintseva started the event with a commanding 6/1 6/3 win over Su-Wei Hsieh before battling past an in-form Danielle Collins 6/4 2/6 7/5 in what was an epic contest. Putintseva did extremely well to withstand the barrage of shots fired at her from Collins, one of the better wins in Putintseva’s career on a hard court.

I’ll side with Halep in this one. It will be interesting to see how Putintseva matches up against Halep in their first career meeting but I expect this to be a good match-up for the Romanian. Putintseva’s greatest strengths are her movement and her versatility, unfortunately for Putintseva those strengths wont be as effective against Halep. Halep has the movement and stamina to match Putintseva from the back of the court and won’t be too troubled by slice, higher balls or drop shots. Importantly Halep has the superior firepower from the baseline, both off the forehand and backhand side, Halep also has a superior serve and more damaging return of serve. It won’t be easy for Halep, it never is against Putintseva but she should get the job done.

Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Yulia Putintseva in 2 sets
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Yulia Putintseva vs. Su-Wei HSieh, Australian Open R1 Preview

AO R1: Yulia Putintseva vs. Su-Wei Hsieh

A fascinating first round match-up at Melbourne Park on Tuesday sees Yulia Putintseva come up against Su-Wei Hsieh. This match-up sees two of the tours most versatile and entertaining players do battle with both very keen to avoid what would be a disappointing opening round exit at the first major of the year.

Putintseva has made a decent start to the year, the Kazakh successfully made her way through the qualifying draw in Brisbane and Adelaide. In Brisbane Putintseva defeated Donna Vekic in the opening round of the main draw before being smashed by an in-from Danielle Collins in straight sets. In Adelaide Putintseva’s man draw campaign ended at the opening hurdle with a tough straight set loss to Ajla Tomljanovic. With 8 matches under her belt across those 2 weeks Putintseva heads to Melbourne Park in a good space.

Hsieh arrives in Melbourne on the back of consecutive opening round defeats. Hsieh was beaten by Anett Kontaveit in straight sets in Brisbane before suffering an agonizing 3 set loss to Aryna Sabalenka in Adelaide from 5-3 30-0 up in the third set. On a positive note, Hsieh did win the doubles title alongside Barbora Strycova in Brisbane.

Hsieh has emerged victorious in the two prior meetings between the pair. Most recently Hsieh claimed a 1-6 7-5 6-3 victory over the Kazakh on clay in Rome a few years ago. Hsieh also defeated Putintseva on a hard court at an ITF event in 2015, a 7-6 2-6 6-2 victory on that occasion.

Putintseva and Hsieh have both had some notable moments at Melbourne Park in recent times. In 2016 Putintseva upset Caroline Wozniacki in the first round before reaching the third round, that was Putintseva’s greatest run at a Grand Slam outside of Roland Garros where she is a 2-time former quarter-finalist. Putintseva has claimed hard-fought first round wins over Lara Arruabarrena, Heather Watson and Barbora Strycova in her last 3 visits to Melbourne.

Hsieh went on a fairy-tale run to the fourth round in Melbourne in 2018 with wins over Agnieszka Radwanska and Garbine Muguruza before pushing an in-form Angelique Kerber to 3 sets in what was an epic match. Last year Hsieh made the third round where she pushed eventual finalist Naomi Osaka to 3 sets.

I’m going to side with Putintseva here. Firstly, Putintseva has won quite a few matches already this year, even if they were against inferior opponents in qualifying draws, a win is a win, winning momentum is important at this time of the year. Hsieh on the other hand has not won a match in singles this year. Secondly, I think the court surface in Melbourne will favour Putintseva. The courts in Melbourne are generally quite gritty and on the slower side, this will favour Putintseva’s heavier game. Putintseva can use her heavy forehand to get the ball up high on Hsieh where the Taiwanese player is less dangerous. Therefore, this is a good matchup for Putintseva on this surface. Putintseva can turn this into a baseline struggle where she will fancy her chances. The versatility and net play of Hsieh wont trouble Putintseva like it troubles others, it will actually work in Putintseva’s favour, the Kazakh loves a target at the net and is good at dealing with slice.

Prediction: Yulia Putintseva to defeat Su-Wei Hsieh in 3 sets

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Danielle Collins vs. Yulia Putintseva, Eastbourne R1 Preview

Nature Valley International, Eastbourne R1
?? Danielle Collins vs. ?? Yulia Putintseva

An interesting opening round clash In Eastbourne sees two of the WTA tour’s feistiest competitors do battle as Danielle Collins takes on Yulia Putintseva. This will be the first career meeting between Collins and Putintseva, expect a drama filled contest between these two.

Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan in action during her quarter-final match at the 2019 Nature Valley Classic WTA Premier tennis tournament

Danielle Collins will be playing her first grass court tournament of the season this week in Eastbourne, her first event since a second round exit at Roland Garros earlier this month. Collins has very limited experience on grass, the American’s run to the quarter-finals in Eastbourne last year was the only time she has won main draw matches on grass.

Yulia Putintseva arrives in Eastbourne in good form after a run to the quarter-finals in Birmingham last week. The Kazakh made a good start to her grass court season in Birmingham as she notably claimed a straight set second round victory over Naomi Osaka, her first ever victory over a number 1 ranked player. Grass is traditionally Putintseva’s least preferred surface but she has certainly improved on the surface and will have gained a huge confidence boost from her win over Osaka.

Neither player will take a backwards step in this one, who will prevail?

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Yulia Putintseva vs. Kirsten Flipkens, Miami R1 Preview

??? Miami Open, R1 Preview
?? Yulia Putintseva vs. ?? Kirsten Flipkens

An interesting first round match-up at the 2019 Miami Open sees Yulia Putintseva take on Kirsten Flipkens. This is a match-up that will feature a heap of variety and fun shot-making. Flipkens is one of the craftiest players on tour whilst Putintseva is one of the quickest and is quite crafty herself, this will be a fun one.

Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan in action during her second-round match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Putintseva made a decent start to the year in Australia, highlighted by a run to the quarter-finals in Sydney. However, Putintseva’s momentum has come to halt over the last few months as she has won just 1 match since the Australian Open. That lone victory was in Indian Wells where the Kazakh beat Timea Babos in straight sets before being smashed by Angelique Kerber in the second round 0-6 2-6.

Flipkens has also struggled to build any momentum in recent times as she too has just won 1 match since the Australian Open. Flipkens’ sole win since the Australian Open also came in Indian Wells, it was a notable 3 set victory over Eugenie Bouchard in the opening round before the Belgian succumbed to Danielle Collins in straight sets in the second round.

Flipkens won the only completed match between the pair, a 7-5 6-4 victory at Wimbledon in 2013.

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Yulia Putintseva vs. Timea Babos, Indian Wells R1 Preview

??? BNPPO19, Indian Wells – R1 Preview
?? Yulia Putintseva vs. ?? Timea Babos

Yulia Putintseva and Timea Babos will go head-to-head for the first time when they meet at the first round stage of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. This match-up will feature a big contrast in styles, the speed of Putintseva against the power of Babos, who will prevail?

Yulia Putintseva made a promising start to the season with a quarter-final showing in Sydney before upsetting Barbora Strycova at the opening round stage of the Australian Open. However, since then Putintseva has lost 3 consecutive matches and arrives in Indian Wells in need of a form reversal.

The singles career of Timea Babos has completely fallen apart in recent times. Babos currently finds herself just outside the top 100 and has really struggled just to win matches on the singles court. Babos has lost 20 of her last 26 singles matches on the WTA tour and has won 2 from 8 matches in 2019.

It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out with both players in desperate need of a victory. Will the power of Babos be too much for Putintseva to handle or will the feisty Kazakh’s versatility trouble the Hungarian?

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Barbora Strycova vs. Yulia Putintseva, Australian Open R1 Preview

?? Australian Open, R1 Preview
?? (32) Barbora Strycova vs. ?? Yulia Putintseva

One of the more exciting opening round match-ups at the 2019 Australian Open sees the 32nd seeded Barbora Strycova take on Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva. Strycova and Putintseva are two of the most versatile and volatile players on tour, expect an entertaining clash between these two.

Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan in action during her second-round match at the 2019 Sydney International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Barbora Strycova has made a disappointing start to her 2019 campaign. Strycova was beaten in the second round in Auckland, a straight set loss to Amanda Anisimova. More recently Strycova fell at the opening round hurdle in the qualifying draw at the Sydney International, this time Strycova was beaten by Zarina Diyas in 3 sets, Strycova was up by a break in the deciding set in her loss to Diyas.

Conversely, Yulia Putintseva has made an impressive start to her 2019 campaign. Putintseva started the season with a narrow opening round loss to Karolina Pliskova in Brisbane. Putintseva led Pliskova by a set and a break before succumbing in a tight third set, good form considering Pliskova went on to win the title in Brisbane. Putintseva arrives in Melbourne fresh off a quarter-final appearance in Sydney where she came from a set and a break down to claim a memorable victory over Sloane Stephens in the second round.

Strycova leads the head-to-head 2-1 heading into this match. However, it was Putintseva who won their most recent match, a 6-4 6-3 win at Roland Garros last year.

Can an in form Putintseva take down the 32nd seed?

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Karolina Pliskova vs. Yulia Putintseva, Brisbane R1 Preview

Brisbane International, R1 Preview
?? (5) Karolina Pliskova vs. ?? Yulia Putintseva

Karolina Pliskova and Yulia Putintseva will go head-to-head at the opening round stage of the Brisbane International for the second time. Pliskova thrashed Putintseva 6-3 6-1 when the pair met in Brisbane in 2017. This has traditionally been a great match-up for Pliskova, the former US Open finalist holds a perfect 2-0 record over Putintseva and has never dropped a set to the Kazakh having also claimed a 7-6 6-3 win in Miami in 2017.

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic practices ahead of the 2019 Brisbane International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Karolina Pliskova heads into 2019 as arguably the best player on tour to have not won a Grand Slam title, that is the unwanted tag that Pliskova will have to wear in 2019 until she makes a breakthrough. Pliskova is a former champion in Brisbane having won the event in 2017, she is well suited to the fairly quick hard courts in Brisbane.

Yulia Putintseva is making her second appearance in Brisbane. The last direct entry into the draw has once again drawn Karolina Pliskova in the first round, a very tough match-up for Putintseva on a traditionally quick hard court. Nevertheless, Putintseva never shies away from a challenge and will relish the opportunity to claim a big scalp.

Can Putintseva cause a big upset or will Pliskova be too strong?

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