A huge upset occurred at the Hisense Arena Monday afternoon with a giant falling out on Day One of the Australian Open. It was the young and talented Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan that defeated Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in a three set marathon to win 1-6, 7-6(3), 6-4. The win by the rookie shook the tennis world by storm pulling off a miraculous victory to begin he season’s first Grand Slam.
The former number one opens her ninth appearance at the open with a first time match against the 76th ranked player from Kazakhstan. Wozniacki found herself more than ready to get into action as she had a good run at the Auckland tournament losing out to finals champion Sloane Stephens in the semifinals. With only one loss so far this year, the 26 year old wont soon find herself getting out early in this one.
For her opponent, the 21 year old got lucky enough to make it into qualifying after failing in her past two tournaments. She has the opportunity to make something of herself as the season was just getting started.
Wozniacki opened service blasting out a love service against Putintseva to take the opening lead. She fought hard in the second through three breaks on deuce where an important game winner helped her get out of trouble. Her comfort level started to flow into her game as the Dane continued to open the gap with tremendous speed to get in position to dictate further.
Putintseva put the brakes on her opponents agenda winning herself a game on serve in the fourth. The fun didn’t last long as the former number one went back to controlling the set taking a 4-1 lead on the return of service. Wozniacki made it 5-1 in a flash where she went on to win the set on a ball shot long by Putintseva to close it out in 30 minutes.
The second set had Wozniacki winning the first game before Putintseva answered back with a win of her own. The tie caused a competition to liven as both ladies got into a draw on deuce that had the Dane fighting a little harder. Five breaks were fought between Wozniacki and Putintseva with a 29 shot rally being won by the Kazak to get the advantage. All her efforts on service paid off huge to beat the Dane; taking the lead for the first time.
Wozniacki battled back to regain control of the set winning a game on the break before getting her serve into action to go up 3-2 on Putintseva. She increased the margin to a pair but it wouldn’t keep her caged as the Kazak fought back to get within reach of a tie. She got side to side with Wozniacki threatening to move out front and press the match to go further. She took a 5-4 lead on the Dane as the opportunity to tie the match was in her opponent’s hands.
Wozniacki wouldn’t allow herself to fall and answered with a big win that immediately sent the set into extra games. The fight went on with Wozniacki blasting out a love service in the tenth before Putintseva responded with another lead ending with one of her own. It put the Dane on the ropes for the first time as her chances for a straight set win went out the window. She survived to move the game into a tiebreaker but it would not work out for her. Putintseva broke away after the first two points taking a 4-1 commanding lead. Wozniacki came back within one but her opponent across court got the two important points winning the break 6-3 to force a huge third set.
The Dane wanted nothing more than to have a good start to the third set but it didn’t go her way as she gave Putintseva a double break point where a backhanded unforced error put her down a game to start. The game turned into a pair with a comeback by the Kazak due to Wozniacki’s unforced errors coming into play. She put an end to the nightmare as her will to win returned to hold serve in Game Three.
The fight back wasn’t an easy one for Wozniacki but after another pair of grueling games, she found her way to take the lead but lose it in the sixth as fatigue was clearly playing its role in the match. 2 hours and 54 minutes had elapsed and yet the match had to go on despite the rising temperatures that affected both players.
It was another tie after eight as they inched closer to completing the set. Putintseva made the first move out front as she fired a long shot over to Wozniacki that caught the baseline just enough to give her the win and go for a huge upset against the 16th seed in the tournament.
The tenth game was in the hands of Putintseva as she had the ball to dictate how much she was going to give it to Wozniacki. Some close shots changed the course of things for the Dane including a ball that she refused to challenge that could have saved her. In the end it was 21 year old getting the biggest win of her career on a rally that stopped on Wozniacki’s shot into the net ending the 3 hour and 13 minute match.
“I was really nervous because I’m not used to playing on this big court and such a big crowd but I got used to it and tried to do my best and keep the ball inside,” Putintseva said during her on court interview. “I can’t still believe I won the match.” The nerves would stay with her briefly as more work would need to be done facing
Xinyun Han of China in the second round scheduled for Wednesday