This was the pair's second meeting; their previous and only meeting happened last year in Nuremberg, where eventual champion Knapp got rid of Putintseva in straight sets.
With today’s victory, Putintseva reached her provisional best ranking of 49, earning the chance to enter the top 50 for the first time in her career.
Putintseva Springs Forward To Claim The Set
A poor start by Knapp gave the Kazakhstani an early lead, which she consolidated by holding the following game to love.
The Italian then tried to get off her slow start; she showed more consistency as she easily held her serve, and immediately tried to level off the game by earning two break points.
The 28-year-old’s effort clashed against Putintseva’s solid defense; the Italian missed her chances to break and then she lost three games in a row to her younger opponent, finding herself in need to hold to remain in the set, from 1-5 down.
In the longest game of the match, Knapp battled to stay in the set, saving four set points overall, but twice she missed the chance to hold her serve; the Italian eventually fell on Putintseva’s fifth set point, letting her opponent win the first set with a sharp 6-1 score line.
Putintseva Continues Her Domination In The Second Set
There had been few chances given to Knapp from the beginning of the second set. After a comfortable hold, Putintseva started to put the Italian’s serve under pressure, as she rapidly took the lead again with an early break in the second game of the set. She held her serve right away to reach a 3-0 lead.
The Italian seemed to recollect her game, as she managed to hold and immediately went to take the break back. As in the first set, however, she failed to convert the chances she got.
A drop shot from Knapp ended in the net on Putintseva’s ninth break point and gave the Kazakhstani’s the chance to serve out the set and ultimately, the match. And another unforced error hit by the Italian gifted her opponent the victory, after an hour and 14 minutes of play.
Despite hitting more winners, a remarkably higher number of unforced errors (37, to Putintseva’s 6) fated Knapp’s performance. The Kazakhstani also showed more consistency on both her serve and return, which helped her to keep the control of the game throughout all the match.
Putintseva To Face Suarez-Navarro
Putintseva will play Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain for a place in the quarterfinals. Their only previous meeting happened at 2013 Australian Open, when the Spaniard eventually prevailed after a three-set battle.