Yulia Putintseva Set for Another Roland Garros Run

Yulia Putinseva

Yulia Putintseva is a controversial figure in the tennis universe. Known for her fiery personality on-court, Putintseva can evoke both appreciation for her competitive nature and disgust for the disrespect she will sometimes show towards her opponents. You never know what you’re getting with a Putintseva match. But, there’s no denying that Putintseva is making a name for herself on clay.

In 2016, Putintseva made a name for herself at Roland Garros when she made the second week of a Major for the first time. She beat players such as former French Open semifinalist Andrea Petkovic and two-time French Open quarterfinalist Carla Suarez Navarro on her way to the quarterfinals.

And in the quarterfinals, she took the first set over Serena Williams, and challenged Williams in the second set, before ultimately falling in three. However, it was a very impressive match for Khazak, proving that she could challenge the best in the game during a late stage in a Major.

Putintseva proved that her previous French Open quarterfinal wasn’t a fluke when she made the quarterfinals of Roland Garros again last year. This time, she beat more accomplished players, such as Johanna Konta and Barbora Strycova, before losing a very tight straight set match against Madison Keys. Putintseva was two points away from winning the first set, but ultimately lost the set, and later, the match. Putintseva showed that when she plays at the French Open, she is a threat to stay awhile.

It makes sense that Putintseva is a very good clay courter. She is very consistent from the baseline, utilizes heavy topspin on her forehand, and is willing to work the point until she finds an opening to attack. She’s also very fast, and opponents often find it difficult to hit through her, with Putintseva making great defensive shots before her opponent overhits.

But, confidence is a huge part of the Putintseva game, and when her confidence is low, her game suffers. In 2017, the year between her Roland Garros quarterfinal appearances, Putintseva went on a summer losing skid, falling in seven of nine matches. A “spotlight” was brought to Putintseva during this time due to her explosion at her coach during a 6-0 6-0 loss to Alize Cornet.

But, Putintseva should be full of confidence during this Roland Garros fortnight, as she just won a WTA Tour title in Nuremberg, beating Tamra Zidansek in three sets to take the title. Putintseva’s week was highlighted by a 7-5 (5)6-7 7-6(2) win over Anna-Lena Friedsam in the quarterfinals, with the match lasting three hours and 24 minutes. Nuremberg was Putintseva’s maiden title, and it makes sense that Yulia won her first title on clay. The title also got Putintseva within one spot of her career high ranking of 27 in the World, as she currently sits in the No. 28 spot in the WTA rankings.

So, how does Putintseva’s draw look at Roland Garros this year? The Khazak has a good draw early. She starts off against Rebecca Peterson, who is in a decent player on clay, and did make the quarterfinals of Rabat this year. Peterson also won the only meeting between the two players, although that was on hard court. But, you just get the sense that this time, with Putintseva fresh off a title and playing in a tournament which she has had success in the past, will be different. And if Putintseva is able to get past Peterson, then her likely opponent will be Donna Vekic, a player who retired from the last match she played, and who isn’t known for her clay court prowess anyways.

And while her third round match could be Belinda Bencic, and after that, possibly one of Kiki Bertens, Alize Cornet, or Johanna Konta, no matter the opponent, Yulia Putintseva will have a shot.

And with her quarterfinal appearances at the French Open in the back of her mind, and a maiden title allowing her confidence to soar, Yulia Putintseva is set for another Roland Garros run.