Putintseva destroys Osaka in the second round of Birmingham


World No.43 Yulia Putintseva demolished uninspired top seed Naomi Osaka in the second round of the Nature Valley Classic, as the world’s top-ranked WTA player only sporadically played aggressive and precise tennis.

The 24-year-old Putintseva set the tone of the first set by opening it with a love hold and progressing all the way to a 5-0 lead. The run to this lead included a six-deuce fourth game, which Putintseva won with a brilliant drop shot.

Even though Osaka staged a mini fightback late in the first set by winning two games in a row, Putintseva broke her one final time to confidently take the set, 6-2. Osaka looked lethargic, as if she didn’t feel like being on the court.

Even though Putintseva continued the momentum in the second set, going 2-0 up, Osaka seemed to have woken up and won three consecutive games, firing decisive shots that hinted a comeback. But Putintseva quickly stopped the trend, rebroke to level to 3-3 and then broke the No.1 again for a 5-3 lead, without losing a point and sealing the game with a winner down the line. The Kazakh peacefully finished the job in the following game for a 6-2 6-3 victory and a place in the quarterfinals of the $1,006,263 Nature Valley Classic.



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