Australian Open R3: Margarita Gasparyan vs Yulia Putintseva
A fascinating third round clash at Melbourne Park on Friday will see two rising born rising stars go head-to-head as they aim to secure a spot in the second week of Grand Slam for the very first time. Both Margarita and Yulia are both already in unprecedented territory having reached the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time in their respective careers. The reward for the winner of this match is highly likely to be a fourth round clash with Serena Williams.
Prior this year’s Australian Open Margarita Gasparyan had never won a main draw match at a Grand Slam, now she suddenly has a golden opportunity to reach the second week in Melbourne. Gasparyan started the week with an extremely hard-fought 1-6 7-5 6-1 victory over Sara Errani. It was an impressive victory by the Russian especially considering how poorly she started the match. Gasparyan had the correct mindset from the start but was committing far too many unforced errors, credit to Gasparyan she kept fighting and eventually powered her way past Errani. Gasparyan backed up her impressive first round performance with a comfortable 6-4 6-4 victory over Kurumi Nara.
Yulia Putintseva is finally making an impact at the Grand Slam level. The Russian-born Kazakhstani produced the best performance of her career in the first round to defeat Caroline Wozniacki 1-6 7-6 6-4 in just over 3 hours of gruelling tennis in tough conditions. Yulia backed up the biggest victory of her career very professionally, thumping a hapless Xinyun Han 6-3 6-1. This could be the big year Putintseva has been waiting for.
This will be the first tour-level meeting between the pair. Gasparyan did defeat Yulia 6-3 6-2 at an ITF event in 2014 and I’m sure these two know each other pretty well being the same age and both coming from Russia. This is arguably the biggest match of each players’ career thus far, an amazing opportunity to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam.
I’m going to side with Putintseva here, Yulia has really impressed me this week especially in her victory over Wozniacki where she played some extremely high quality tennis. Yulia is much more consistent from the baseline and has much more variety in her game, it will take a big effort for Gasparyan to hit through Putintseva (she is capable) but I don’t think she will do it.