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.
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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.