Australian Open R1: Yulia Putintseva vs (16) Caroline Wozniacki
One of the most intriguing first round matches at the Australian Open on Monday sees the 16th seeded Caroline Wozniacki come up against Kazakhstani rising-star Yulia Putintseva. It will be very interesting to see how far Putintseva can push the former world number 1, Yulia has a very similar game to Wozniacki meaning this could actually be a very tight encounter on Hisense Arena.
Caroline Wozniacki has set some ambitious goals for 2016, stating that she wants to win 1 or more Grand Slam titles and an Olympic medal. The Dane believes that her poor 2015 form is behind her and has stated that she is fit and ready for a big season. Wozniacki has been training very hard over the last couple of months and looks to be back to her peak fitness levels after some injury problems in 2015. However, it will be difficult for Wozniacki to find her way back into the top 10 given the growing competition for spots at the top of the game.
Wozniacki started the season in good form, cruising into the semi-finals of the ASB Classic in Auckland without being challenged in her first three matches of the year. However, the tournament would end in disappointment for Wozniacki when she suffered a straight set loss to eventual champion Sloane Stephens. It was a disappointing loss for Wozniacki because she had never previously lost to Stephens and would have expected to win that match.
There has been a lot of hype surrounding Yulia Putintseva and her game ever since her great success at the junior level, however the success has not translated to great success on the WTA tour. Yulia has shown glimpses of what she is capable of, however she generally failed to make an impact at the bigger events. Yulia will be hoping for much greater season in 2016 and will see this match as a real opportunity to make an impact in a match where she really has nothing to lose.
This will be the first career meeting between the pair. This is an interesting match and promises to produce a lot of gruelling rallies, both Caroline and Yulia are fantastic movers and scramblers from behind the baseline. Clearly Wozniacki is far more experienced and will therefore start the clear favourite, however Putintseva shouldn’t be ignored, she has shown in the past that she is capable of mixing it with the best and that she thrives on the big stage.Ultimately Wozniacki should be too consistent for a sometimes erratic and overly emotional Putintseva, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Putintseva claim a set and I am tempted to go for the upset here but I will stick with Wozniacki, just.