Yulia Putintseva last came to the Hard Court Stadium to see Beyoncé perform with Jay-Z, and the Kazakh hit all the right notes to outlast an on-fire Belinda Bencic at the Miami Open.
David Kane
March 23, 2019

MIAMI, FL, USA - Yulia Putintseva's matches tend to be a fairly comprehensive audio/visual experience, which would explain the Kazakh's love of concerts.

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Unseeded at the Miami Open, Putintseva often posts highlights from various performances to her Instagram story, including Sia, P!nk, and, most recently, Beyoncé at the Hard Rock Stadium last summer.

"I came here looking for tennis courts, but there was nothing ready yet!" she laughed after a 6-3, 7-5 win over Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships winner Belinda Bencic, her second Top 20 win of 2019.

"It’s amazing, but I’ve already seen so many amazing things in the United States, where they build courts so fast, like there’s a court in the blink of an eye! It’s great that they worked fast here."

"I’m living around 30 minutes away, so it’s pretty close, and I’m happy to stay in my own bed! When I’m playing a tournament, it’s a nice feeling because it doesn’t happen often; in fact, it’s happening for the first time!"
Yulia Putintseva

The 24-year-old began the year with a big win over former World No.3 Sloane Stephens at the Sydney International, but took a tough loss to Bencic at the Australian Open. Even as she smiled and laughed through the subsequent mixed zone interview, she didn't see anything special about Friday's straight set victory.

"I’m happy with my every win," she said of her often enthusiastic celebrations. "It doesn’t matter if it’s Belinda on the other side; I’m happy to get through and I’m happy to win the matches."

Bencic has been in the midst of a career renaissance since capturing her second Premier 5 title in Dubai - going on to reach the BNP Paribas Open semifinals in her next main draw appearance - but hasn't been as comfortable in Miami, having not won a match here since 2015.

Putintseva, by contrast, has a training base in Florida, and is even commuting to the Hard Rock Stadium from her home each day.

"I’m living around 30 minutes away, so it’s pretty close, and I’m happy to stay in my own bed! When I’m playing a tournament, it’s a nice feeling because it doesn’t happen often; in fact, it’s happening for the first time!

"It’s a new experience. I love the facilities here, I like the weather, I love Florida. It feels great to be here."

Rallying from a break down in the second set, the two-time French Open quarterfinalist felt her serve helped carry the win on Court 8, hitting four aces and winning an impressive 66% on her service points.

"It was working pretty well, especially in the important moments. It’s a good feeling to have a cool serve on break points!"

Putintseva next plays another Top 20 star in 2018 US Open semifinalist Anastasija Sevastova, who employs a variety not dissimilar to her own. Their last encounter came in the fall, where the Latvian won in three sets at the Kremlin Cup.

"I just need to get ready mentally because it’ll be another tough match. I have a tough opponent to play. I hope I can continue to do everything good."