At 2016 French Open Yulia Putintseva got her part of the attention, reaching her first career Grand Slam quarterfinal and setting up a good battle against defending champion and world number one Serena Williams. This year, Putintseva will return to Stade Roland Garros as a top 30, with the 27th seed in the draw, and will need to battle her way to defend or improve her past year’s remarkable results.
Notable results to date
Putintseva’s 2017 started in Brisbane, with a harsh loss to eventual champion Karolina Pliskova. She then lost to Caroline Wozniacki in Sidney, after going past an injured Belinda Bencic by retirement in the previous round.
In St.Petersburg, she performed one of the best runs of her career, reaching the final taking down two top-ten players in the attempt. In the quarterfinals, she battled past third-seed Svetlana Kuznetsova recovering from 3-5 down in the decider, and in the semifinals she rallied from one set down to shock second seed and world number 5 Dominika Cibulkova and reach the final.
She played a close battle for the title, eventually losing to Kristina Mladenovic in another three-set thriller.
She couldn’t back up her good run with as good performances, struggling to win two matches in a row for the rest of the season. She reached the quarterfinals in Nuremberg, just before the French Open, but lost in three sets to Sorana Cirstea.
Clay Court results leading up to Roland Garros
Putinsteva’s clay season started in Charleston, with a first-round loss against Magda Linette.
She then played in Rabat, where she scored a win against Andrea Petkovic in the first round, ma fell in three-set to Varvara Lepchenko after winning the first with a 6-1 score.
In Madrid, she lost in two set against qualifier Donna Vekic, while in Rome she scored a first-round win against Monica Puig, but managed to take only three games from fifth seed Johanna Konta in the following match.
In Nuremberg, she defeated Julia Glushko and Yanina Wickmayer in the opening rounds, and faced Cirstea in the quarterfinal. After quickly losing the first set, the Russian-born battled back to force a decider, which ended up being a close battle in which the Romanian eventually prevailed after a play suspension due to darkness.
Best French Open results
Putinsteva had played in the French Open main draw two times in career, always winning at least one match. She made her debut in 2014, after having fell in the qualifying rounds the year before. She won her debut match against Ayumi Morita in straight sets, but then had been stunned by previous year’s finalist Sara Errani with a clear 6-1, 6.1.
She returned in the main draw in 2015, winning her opener against Aleksandra Krunic, but then losing to Elina Svitolina right away, blowing away a 6.1, 3.0 lead in the second and a 4-1 lead in the decider in one of the most burning losses of her career.
In 2016, she started her campaign in class, opening with a double 6-1 to Aleksandra Wozniack, followed by a double 6-2 to 28th seed Andrea Petkovic and then again a double 6-1 to Karin Knapp. In the round of 16, she sent off 12th seed Carla Suarez Navarro with a closer 7-5, 7-5 score.
She met top-seed and defending Champion Serena Williams in the quarterfinals, and went closer to the biggest upset of her career, taking the first set with a 7-5 score and immediately went up a break in the second. Eventually, the more experienced Williams found her way back, and Putinsteva could nothing to stop her, but could leave Paris proud of her run and her achievements there.
How Putintseva’s game translate to the surface
Putintseva is a baseliner with a various range of shots; she can’t count on height and doesn’t possess much power, but she can be dangerous everywhere on the court, trying to take control of the point and patiently imposing her game on the opponent. A slower court would help her in moving her opponent around during rallies, and then find a opening to attack.
Another weapon she has is her big fighting spirit, and the right amount of self-confidence that doesn’t make her feel the pressure of a big stage or even a hostile crowd.
Putintseva will play her debut match in Paris against wildcard Myrtille Georges, and she will possibly meet defending champion Garbiñe Muguruza in the third round.