NÜRNBERG, Germany - No.2 seed Yulia Putintseva won a hard-fought first round encounter with lucky loser Julia Glushko, 6-4, 5-7, 6-0 at the Nürnberger Versicherungs Cup.
"I’m feeling fine," she said after the match. "I’m happy the conditions are better this year than last; it’s not raining, so I’m happy about that, and I’m looking forward to my next match."
The crafty Kazakh was meant to play former World No.5 Eugenie Bouchard before the Canadian withdrew due to a right ankle injury.
"There would have been some different tactics against Genie, but then she pulled out, and I only found out yesterday evening. Then I didn’t know who I was playing at all until this afternoon.
"It was a little bit nerve-wracking, and then I found out I was playing Julia. I hadn’t seen her for a while at a WTA tournament, so it was a little difficult to manage the tactics because I hadn’t played her in two and a half years."
Putintseva had never beaten Glushko in two previous encounters, but the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy finalist appeared keen to reverse that trend as she took the opening set, converting three of four break point chances.
“It was tough. I started the match great, up 4-0, then I found I was slowing my game down a little. I wasn’t really moving my feet 100%, and that brought my level down."
The second set was an even greater tussle as Glushko took a 5-3 lead; though Putintseva saved a set point on the Israeli's serve, Glushko broke back once more to level the match.
What followed was a masterclass from the Kazakh, who raced through the final six games to clinch victory in just over two hours.
"I’m happy to have managed my game and my feet better in the third set. My speed was great, and it went well in the end."
Up next for Putintseva is former World No.12 Yanina Wickmayer, who narrowly survived Amra Sadikovic in a third-set tiebreak.