NURNBERG, Germany -- No.1 seed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan kicked off the Nurnberger Versicherungscup 2019 with a truncated victory, easing past an ailing Dalila Jakupovic of Slovenia, 6-2, 3-0, ret. in the first round on Sunday.
"In the beginning, Dalila was playing some good tennis, but then she, I think, felt something not right on court, and she decided to retire," Putintseva told the media, after the match. "So it’s not really a win, but I am happy to go through."
World No.38 Putintseva, a French Open quarterfinalist in two of the last three years, slid her way to a dominant lead before 107th-ranked Jakupovic was forced to retire with a viral illness after 54 minutes of play. Putintseva converted five of her six break points and won two-thirds of Jakupovic's first-service points during the match.
"I’m happy with my serve today, and I’m happy with the way I was moving on the court," Putintseva stated.
Putintseva will face either Mona Barthel of Germany or Argentina’s Paula Ormaechea in the second round. Barthel and Ormaechea are scheduled to play their first-round encounter on Monday.
“I know both players, and I know they’re both playing very good, especially on clay,” Putintseva said, during her on-court post-match interview. “So I have to get ready!”
After an early exchange of breaks in the first set, Putintseva started to pull away from Jakupovic after a love hold for 3-2. The Kazakh deployed a stunning backhand dropshot to reach break point in the following game, and a fierce forehand by the top seed forced a netted error from her opponent, giving Putintseva a crucial break lead at 4-2.
Putintseva held with ease for 5-2, putting pressure on Jakupovic to serve to stay in the set. More powerful groundstrokes by Putintseva kept her run going, as she reached double set point. A forehand error by Jakupovic on Putintseva’s second chance gave the excited Kazakh the swift one-set lead.
Putintseva continued to cruise through the clash, breaking an error-prone Jakupovic for a 2-0 lead in the second set. It was at this point that the Slovene called for the trainer, as she was visibly struggling with an ailment.
Jakupovic nearly got back on serve in the following game, holding two break points, but Putintseva survived the four-deuce game, punctuating the service hold for 3-0 with a forehand winner. Jakupovic had a medical time-out on the changeover, and she fell behind 0-40 in her next service game before she determined she was unable to continue.