By Ros Satar at the Copper Box Arena, London
- Yulia Putintseva def. Katie Boulter 3-6 6-2 7-6(6)
LONDON, ENGLAND – British No. 2 Katie Boulter was edged in a heart-breaker of a match as Yulia Putintseva levelled the play-off.
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Katie Boulter showed she was not over-awed or distracted by the much-discussed antics of Kazakhstan No. 1 Yulia Putintseva as she went toe-to-toe with her before putting the pressure on by breaking for a lead, and then breaking for the set.
The irritation was clear for Putintseva as she angrily waved a ball-kid away, and if nothing else is silenced the Kazakh trombonist and trumpeter. But experience counts for a lot and coming back in the second set, Putintseva put a dent in Boulter’s momentum with a break at the start of the second set.
A long injury time-out for Boulter left the brit very much underpowered on her serve and her movement looked impacted, but a small break at the end of the second set as Putintseva levelled the match saw Boulter come back with renewed vigour, cracking winners and using her power to keep Putintseva at bay, building up what looked like an invincible 5-2 lead.
The tightness in her serving arm showed as Boulter was broken serving for the set the first time and was denied taking a match-point as the match headed for a tie-break. With the momentum flip-flopping between them, Boulter had two more chances to close out the match and put Britain very much in the driving seat but lost both her serves, leaving Putintseva to level the tie on her first and only match point.
Despite a typically Putintseva-like match winning celebration, the Kazakh had nothing but praise for the quality of level of her opponent, having watched her play a little prior to the match, and been aware of her ascent up the rankings.
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She said, of the British No. 2: “She surprised me that she was able to keep her level up high during whole match, because she’s played so aggressive and her game style is always going for it, so the surprising thing is the way she kept her level during almost the whole match. This is quite high quality.”
For Boulter though it was another story and the tougher side of the coin, after the euphoria of Bath.
She said: “I am devastated clearly. It’s really difficult for me to give an answer right now. I gave everything again, like I always do, and it was hardest fought. You win some, you lose some. All you can do is keep trying keep getting better and hopefully it goes your way.
“It was a really good match for both of us I think. She never went away, She’s someone who’s going to run, she’s always going to make balls and I was always going into that match and try to dictate it and be as consistent as I possible could. I thought it was really high level.”
There was concern about the lengthy medical time-out soon into the second set, and it is now a race against time for Boulter to be considered fit for the fourth rubber.
She added: I’m going to doing my absolute best to recover tonight. I was just struggling a little bit physically but I’m sure I’ll feel fine, I’ve got a great team around me who support well so I’m sure I’ll be ready for tomorrow.”
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Play starts on Sunday at 12pm, with Boulter and Zarina Diyas in the fourth rubber.
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