TIANJIN, China - No.6 seed Yulia Putintseva moved into her fifth quarterfinal of the season at the Tianjin Open with an emphatic 6-1, 6-2 rout of wildcard Samantha Stosur in one hour and one minute.
It was a long-awaited revenge over the Australian for Putintseva, who had lost their only previous encounter 6-4, 6-1 in the 2014 Osaka quarterfinals - a result that put Stosur on the path to her sixth career title at that tournament, a pattern Putintseva will hope repeats this week after a dominant performance in which she broke the World No.91 twice in each set.
"I was pretty solid today, my serve was working well and I was doing some great stuff in important moments," assessed Putintseva afterwards. "Sometimes she was not playing great, sometimes she was coming back and playing great shots, especially at net - but overall I kept my focus very well."
The Kazakh raced out of the blocks, keeping Stosur at bay by landing 84% of her first serves - and winning 81% of those points. Putintseva was also able to effectively keep the 2011 US Open champion off-balance throughout a one-sided opening set with accurate placement, drawing a stream of errors from the Stosur racquet as she rattled off 16 of 19 points to leap from 1-1 to 5-1.
With the Nurnberg champion serving for the set, Stosur provided some belated resistance - only for Putintseva to raise her own game in response, conjuring up clean dropshot winners off both wings, a marvellous pass and finally consecutive unreturnable serves to save two break points and capture the opening act on her third set point.
Stosur, who surged back into the Top 100 three weeks ago after a lean year with a run to the Guangzhou final, where she fell to Sofia Kenin, would find some success early in the second set as she improved the consistency and depth of her groundstrokes, fending off two break points to hold in the first game.
But a pair of aces underlined Putintseva's supremacy on serve, while mistakes were rarely far away from Stosur, who ultimately tallied 22 unforced errors. Putintseva pounced in the fifth game, pressuring the 35-year-old with a brace of brilliant backhand passes - and, now firmly in control, wheeled out the same shot to carve out a point for the double break two games later.
Stosur's backhand, however, was letting her down somewhat: the former World No.4 sent a putative putaway into the net to concede that game, and another tentatively netted shot off that wing squandered her sole break point of the set as Putintseva attempted to serve the match out.
As in the first set, the final game would be the trickiest for the Nurnberg champion - but once again, her serve would come through when she needed it. A fourth ace and another service winner sealed victory for Putintseva on her first match point - and a quarterfinal clash against Ons Jabeur, who had earlier dispatched 18-year-old qualifier Wang Xiyu 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 15 minutes.