The Best of the Day preview hits it down the line with tennis tips for Naomi Osaka’s Birmingham Classic clash with Yulia Putintseva.
21:30 (AEST) @ The Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham
History: Played 1: Putintseva 1 V Osaka 0
Last meeting: Hobart International, 2018 (R32): Putintseva d Osaka 6-3 6-3
Final Thoughts: World No.1 Naomi Osaka continues her build-up for Wimbledon at the Birmingham Classic. The Best of the Day preview breaks down here second-round clash with world No.43 Yulia Putiseva.
TRICKY DRAW | Naomi Osaka is off to a winning start on grass after getting the better of Maria Sakkari – 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 – in the first round of the Nature Valley Classic.
The world number one and top seed in Birmingham takes on the plucky Yulia Putintseva next. 👊🏾 pic.twitter.com/tJW0WY4rCT
— Black Spin Global (@BlackSpinGlobal) June 18, 2019
The reigning US Open and Australian Open made a shock third-round exit at the French Open, stunned by Katerina Siniakova in straight sets.
Osaka battled past Maria Sakkari 6-1 4-6 6-3 in the first round in Birmingham in her first outing since that Roland Garros failure.
She moves into the second round with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 win 💪 pic.twitter.com/iCAUWqdhIg
— WTA (@WTA) June 18, 2019
The 21-year-old was undeniably patchy, while she doubled down on earlier comments that she is not entirely comfortable on grass.
She has reached the third round of the past two Wimbledons, but this will be just her 12th tour-level match on grass in a main draw.
And it’s not what you’d expect 😀 pic.twitter.com/uUuhhG8kH6
— LTA (@the_LTA) June 18, 2019
Putintseva swept aside Harriet Dart 6-1 6-4 in her first-round Birmingham Classic assignment.
The 24-year-old’s best 2019 performances include a quarter-final appearance at the Sydney International and Round of 16 showings at the Miami and Madrid Opens. She took the first set off Ash Barty in the latter, before going down in three.
Putintseva then collected her maiden WTA title at the Nuremburg Cup. But she was bounced out of the French Open in the first round by Rebecca Peterson.
Putintseva won her only previous clash with Osaka, a straight-sets result at last year’s Hobart International.
Tennis : Yulia Putintseva beat Harriet Dart 6-1, 6-4 in the first round of #BirminghamOpen
— Doordarshan Sports (@ddsportschannel) June 19, 2019
Osaka is a far more formidable proposition than she was in early-2018. Her power game should get her over line. But she is rusty and the spirited Putintseva looks a decent Best of the Day shout with a sizeable headstart here.