Kazakh star chasing home glory in Nur-Sultan

01.10.2021    Views: 1125
Source: KTF press-service
Courtney Walsh

After Yulia Putintseva capped a remarkable day for Kazakhstan tennis in Nur-Sultan, the Astana Open top seed was keen to pay tribute to her Billie Jean King Cup captain Yaroslava Shvedova.

Putintseva kept alive hopes of a local claiming the first WTA Tour tournament held in Kazakhstan by defeating Rebecca Peterson 6-2 6-4 in a semi-final on Friday.
The 26-year-old will play Alison van Uytvanck in the Astana Open final on Saturday after the Belgian star proved too experienced for Romanian Jaqueline Cristian when successful 6-3 6-3.

Preceding the semi-finals was a ceremony honoring Yaroslava Shvedova, who has announced her retirement from the WTA Tour. After her triumph over Peterson, Putintseva was keen to praise the three-time grand slam quarter-finalist, who will serve as Kazakhstan’s Billie Jean King Cup captain.

«I think she had a really great career. She was playing amazing and I was watching her matches when I was really young,» she said.
«She was there, all the way, when I turned pro and she is just great. She is a great player. A great person off the court.
«On the court, she is always so supportive, sending messages when I am doing good. She is now a really great captain. I cannot say anything bad about her. She is a really, really cool person.»

Putintseva deserves praise as well for her performances at home this week, with the World No. 47 dropping only one set to date on the way to the final. The semi-final against Peterson was not without some tension, with the Swede rebounding from a 1-5 deficit to hold two break points to level the second set.

«Even though I was leading 5-1, it was always deuce, advantage, here and there,» Putintseva said.
«I was happy that I turned it my way to 5-1, because it was a big advantage in the second set and that I had that opportunity to serve twice, which was great.
«Even the last game was like 15-40 on my serve and I am very happy to close it and I am really happy that the crowd was helping me all the way there.»

The Kazakh is chasing her second WTA title for the season after a triumph in the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest in July. She has won all four meetings against van Uytvanck, claiming their most recent clash at the Australian Open in February 6-4 1-6 6-2. van Uytvanck, the tournament’s second seed, was impressive in her dismissal of Cristian, who was playing in her first WTA Tour semi-final.

The 27-year-old arrived in Kazakhstan hoping to string together some victories after a testing season and will play in her first WTA Tour final since winning titles in Budapest and Tashkent in 2019.

The World No. 89 is unbeaten when reaching a WTA Tour final but is mindful of the challenge posed by the local favorite.
«Yulia, I have never beaten her, so it is going to be a tough opponent for me,» she said.
«She has good groundstrokes. She is solid. She is running well. You have to win the point two or three times against her.
«I am really happy to be in another final, a WTA final, my fifth or something. I am still undefeated in a 250 final, so I hope tomorrow I can stay strong and give it everything I have.
«I am already happy with the week I am having here, so everything is a bonus.»

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