Yulia Putintseva vs Catherine Bellis, Dubai R1 Preview

?? 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.

Yulia Putintseva is playing some of the best tennis of her career at the moment, not just in flashes but consistently throughout tournaments. The highlight of the year for Yulia was her great run to the final in Dubai where she claimed two top 10 victories with wins over Svetlana Kuznetsova and Dominika Cibulkova before succumbing to Kristina Mladenovic in a tight three sets final. Putintseva went on to help guide Kazakhstan into the world group 2 playoffs, claiming an important win over Misaki Doi in the deciding Fed Cup tie against Japan. Yulia had a strange week in Doha last week where she won via a retirement in the first round before being forced to retire injured in the second round. 

Catherine Bellis made her 2017 WTA main draw debut last week in Doha. Bellis won her first match in the qualifying draw, a solid straight set win over Shuai Peng before succumbing to Saisai Zheng in a tight three set match. Bellis won three consecutive tournaments to end 2016, two at the ITF level and one WTA 125k event in Honolulu. Those victories will give Bellis confidence that she belongs at this level and she has recently committed to the WTA tour after turning pro.

This will be the first tour level meetings between Putintseva and Bellis. These two have quite different styles of tennis, Putintseva has a huge amount of variety and is a great mover and defender. Whilst Bellis has a more aggressive, flat and simple type of game. I think this is a good match-up for Putintseva, Bells will find it difficult to deal with the different looks thrown at her by Yulia and will be forced into errors when her shots keep coming back. This is a match Yulia should be winning.

Prediction: (17) Yulia Putintseva to defeat Catherine Bellis in 3 sets

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