Crafty and Unyielding: Yulia Putintseva on the Rise?

Yulia Putinsteva BNP Paribas Open-Day 7

Yulia Putintseva stunned the crowd when she took down World No.1 Iga Swiatek in the third round of Wimbledon. She entered the match as the underdog but played with the confidence of a seasoned champion. She was tactical, crafty and ever-adapting, capitalising on Swiatek’s unforced errors. It is no secret that Swiatek has a limited affinity for grass but to upset the World No.1 like that with drop shots and sheer power was a remarkable show of finesse. Her run at the All-England Club was, however, cut short in the Round of 16 when she fell to Jeļena Ostapenko in straight sets. Yet, her tenacity and intense playing style have certainly left her as one not to overlook.

She had arrived at Wimbledon off the momentum of her first grass title this year which she took at the Birmingham Open. Her final against Ajla Tomlianovic saw her take the title. Her two-handed backhand and forehand were mighty in taking down the Australian.

“I don’t know what I’m feeling because I wasn’t expecting this at all,” Putintseva said afterwards. “It’s great and it’s confusing because I’ve always been good on clay, but now all of a sudden, I’m good on grass. I’ll take that! It’s great!”

Her two other titles have both been on clay, which she took at the Nuremberg Cup in 2019 and the Budapest Grand Prix in 2021, and she has also reached the quarterfinals of Roland Garros in 2016 and 2018.

With grass season behind her, Putintseva’s focus will shift to the next Slam–the US Open. Historically, she’s shown prowess on the hard courts. She reached the quarterfinal of the tournament in 2020, her counterpunching style suiting the faster surfaces. The Australian Open is another hard-court tournament where she’s shown strength. Most recently in 2021, she reached the third round but run into the tournament was eventually ended by Elina Svitolina.

She can outlast opponents in long rallies thanks to her agility and defensive prowess, and her tactical understanding makes it a breeze for her to take advantage of flaws and aggressively create openings to finish points. If she can continue this momentum from Wimbledon, she could make deep runs in the upcoming tournaments, and perhaps even the slam.

Main Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports


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