French Open: Yulia Putintseva battles past Andrea Petkovic for a place in the third round

French Open: Yulia Putintseva battles past Andrea Petkovic for a place in the third round

The Kazakhstani reached the third round of Roland Garros for the first time, defeating Petkovic in straight sets after a very close battle.

Stefania Ellero

Andrea Petkovic’s disappointing season on clay ended on Court 14 against Yulia Putintseva, in a match that, despite the final result of 6-2, 6-2, was fought until the very end. The players met for the third time in career; their first encounter in 2013 at Indian Wells which saw the German's victory, while the Kazakhstani won the second one two years later in Nuremberg, taking advantage of her opponent’s early retirement during the first set.

A Solid Play On Break Points Granted Putintseva The First Set

After falling down to 0-30, Petkovic managed to hold the first game of the match by winning four points in a row, and immediately started to put pressure on Putintseva’s serve; the German gained four break points right away but failed to convert any of them.

It was Putintseva who was the first to claim a break, hitting a forehand winner on her second break point to take an early lead in the set. Petkovic continued to put pressure on Putintseva’s serve, pushing another game to deuce and gaining two more break points, which again she failed to convert. Moreover, she still struggled with her own serve, and the Kazakhstani only needed one more break point to take a 4-1 lead with a forehand winner from the net.

The chance to try to level out came in the sixth game, when the German finally converted her first break point (her seventh of the set); an effort that she wasted shortly after, as Putintseva broke her back to 15, confirming a very solid play on break points and gaining the chance to serve for the set. With two good points won at the net, Putintseva gained a first set point and converted it right away, winning the first set for 6-2.

Andrea Petkovic of Germany hits a forehand during the Ladies Singles second round match against Yulia Putintseva of Kazakstan on day five of the 2016 French Open at Roland Garros on May 26, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Putintseva Took An Early Lead To Claim The Match

The second set saw Putintseva take an immediate lead, securing the score with a solid 5-0 by playing some impressive points at the net and granting Petkovic only one break point, saved with a drop shot winner. The Kazakhstani proceeded to serve for the match, but a forehand unforced error gifted her opponent a break point, and a second one allowed the German to win her first game of the set.

Petkovic went on to hold the following game, saving a match point with a forehand winner and giving herself a chance to re-open the set. Three unforced errors made things complicated for the German, who fell to 0-40 and gifted Putintseva a triple match point. She saved the first two, but could nothing against the Kazakhstani’s final drop-shot winner, which gave her the victory with a double 6-2 after one hour and thirty-seven minutes of play.

Despite hitting fewer winners than her opponent, Putintseva’s more solid play on break points - she won 6 out of 14, to Petkovic’s 2 out of 9 - allowed her to always hold the lead of the match, and to neutralize the German’s attempts to catch up.

Putintseva To Take On Knapp

21-year-old Putintseva broke her personal record in a major at this year’s Australian Open, where she reached the third round for the first time and confirmed it at the French Open. She’ll have to take on Italy’s Karin Knapp for a chance to advance. For both players, it will be the first time reaching the fourth round on the clay of Roland Garros.