No.35 Yulia Putintseva upset World No.1 Iga Swiatek in the third round at Wimbledon after coming from a set down to win 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 on Saturday. A champion at the Rothesay Classic two weeks ago, Putintseva extended her win streak to eight matches after ending Swiatek's own streak at 21.

The victory put Putintseva into her first Round of 16 at Wimbledon and first at any major since making the 2020 US Open quarterfinals. 

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"At some point I was playing fearless," Putintseva said. "I was just, I can do it, I have to believe 100 percent, I have nothing to lose, just go for it. Also my coach told me, no matter which shot you're doing, believe 100 percent and just follow.

"It's when the turning point happened, I start to play really, really good. I think today I'm happy, extra happy, because she didn't lose it; I took it."

Putintseva will face Jelena Ostapenko for a spot in the quarterfinals on Monday. Ostapenko sailed into the Round of 16 with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Bernarda Pera earlier in the day. A Wimbledon semifinalist in 2018, the Latvian needed just 59 minutes to advance to her first Slam fourth round this season. She has lost 10 games across her three matches.

How big of a win is this for Putintseva?

Massive. The 29-year-old had yet to take a set from Swiatek in their four previous matches. In nine previous appearances at Wimbledon, she had never made it past the second round before this year. She had beaten a reigning World No.1 just once in her career.

But momentum matters, particularly on grass where confidence and instincts reign supreme. Two weeks ago, Putintseva won her first grass-court title in Birmingham and she's parlayed that win to a career-best eight-match win streak. She has now made the Round of 16 at a major on all three surfaces. 

"Honestly, the title in Birmingham give me a lot of confident that I can play and I can be good on grass," Putintseva said, "because before that my statistic on grass wasn't that successful. Let's put it that way. Last year I won no matches on grass.

"Entering the tournament like Wimbledon, when you have five consecutive wins on grass, it's pretty good. You feel this surface much, much better."

With that, Putintseva handed the World No.1 just her fifth loss of the season and first since another player representing Kazakhstan: Elena Rybakina at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. Putintseva's two wins over World No.1 have now come, ironically, on grass. She also beat Naomi Osaka at 2019 Birmingham. 

How did Putintseva pull off the upset?

By playing pitch-perfect tennis for two sets. Swiatek took the opening set but Putintseva went into the second set knowing that she was well in the match. She generated three break points and failed to convert, but the opportunities were there. 

A heavy spell of rain hammered the Centre Court roof early in the second set and the defeating reverberations seemed to knock the match onto a completely different axis. After striking her forehand with venomous pace and precision through the first set, Swiatek's accuracy went away and Putintseva smelled blood in the water.

"I was thinking during the match that I beat the World No.1 on grass," Putintseva said, referring to her win over Osaka.

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Putintseva struck just one unforced error in the second set while taking advantage of Swiatek's loss of confidence in her groundstrokes. With the crowd growing in their support, the player from Kazakhstan unleashed her all-court game. Her drop shot proved particularly devastating and frustrating for Swiatek and Putintseva's improved return game left Swiatek rattled on serve.

From 1-1 in the second set, Putintseva won nine consecutive games against the World No.1 before Swiatek held to stop the run at 4-1 in the final set. By then it was too late. Putintseva's shot-making consistently put Swiatek on a string around the court and she closed out the win on her third match point. 

Putintseva finished the match with 19 winners to 15 unforced errors. Swiatek struck 34 winners to 38 unforced errors. Notably, 11 of Putintseva's 15 unforced errors came in the first set. She struck just four for the remainder of the match. 

What does this mean for Swiatek?

To paraphrase Swiatek after her match-point saving win over Aryna Sabalenka in the Madrid Open final, it depends on what she does with this loss. In many ways, it's an easy one to set aside quickly. Last year, when she posted her best Wimbledon result in the quarterfinals, she played a grass tournament before heading to SW19. This year she understandably chose to rest and come into the tournament cold. She ran up against a tough competitor with something to prove, nothing to lose, and riding a huge wave of confidence.

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Said differently: the loss doesn't have to mean much. Swiatek has shown time and time again that she has the incredible ability to bounce back from losses. After she lost to Linda Noskova in the third round of the Australian Open, she won Doha. Lose to Anna Kalinskaya in Dubai? Win Indian Wells. After losing Ekaterina Alexandrova and Elena Rybakina, she ran off 21 consecutive matches and three big titles. 

Grass-court tennis and Wimbledon specifically remain a tough puzzle for her to crack. She'll now have to wait 12 months for another chance to prove to everyone, and most importantly herself, that she shouldn't be written off for the five weeks that come after the French Open. But learning to win on grass takes time. 

Swiatek still leaves the third Grand Slam with an outstanding 45-5 record on the season. Her No.1 spot at the top of the PIF WTA Rankings and PIF Race to the WTA Finals Leaderboard is nowhere near under threat. 

And now, Swiatek will have plenty of time to decompress, rest physically and mentally after a truly draining first six months of the season, and prepare properly for the one event she cares about more than most: the Olympics.