Yulia Putintseva reached her first Premier-level semifinal at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, outlasting No.3 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova in three sets.
WTA Staff

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - Yulia Putintseva recovered from a 5-3 deficit to defeat No.3 seed and hometown hero Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-5, to reach the semifinals of the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, her first at a WTA Premier event.

"I just kept on fighting," she said after the win. "The match could have easily gone her way, but I kept believing and I think that made the difference in the end."

The Russian-born Kazakh was taking on Kuznetsova in the last quarterfinal of the day, and both conspired to put on a classic in front of a boisterous crowd.

Putintseva was in complete control for the first set and a half, quickly composing herself after an early exchange of breaks, and took a 4-2 lead late in the second set.

Kuznetsova, by contrast, was struggling to deal with the youngster's variety, but drew on home support to force a tie-break and win six straight points to level the match.

Playing in St. Petersburg for the first time in her illustrious career, the No.3 seed came back from a break in the decider to put herself within two points of victory, but the fiery Putintseva would not be denied.

"I'm very happy that I kept my composure, trying to move well and trying to move her. I think I did that well today, and that helped with the result today."

Her unseeded opponent swept the final four games of the match, hitting a total of 36 winners to 28 unforced errors - compared to 43 winners and 53 erros from Kuznetsova, to take her third Top 10 win in two hours and 43 minutes. 

"I was down all match, not feeling so good on the court," Kuznetsova said after the match. "At the end, I could turn the match around, but couldn't hold serve, and I'm sad about it.

"It was really a great opportunity to play here. I had a good draw; I'm sad I couldn't use it, but hopefully I'll come back."

Having earned a career-best result on the WTA tour, Putintseva also booked a semifinal clash with No.2 seed Dominika Cibulkova.

"I'm just going to go out there to do my best," Putintseva said, previewing her next match. "We'll see what happens in the end.