Fixture: Yulia Putintseva vs Elena Rybakina
Date: 18 September 2020
Tournament: Italian Open 2020
Round: Third round (Round of 16)
Venue: Rome, Italy
Category: WTA Premier 5
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €1,771,082
Match timing: 12:45 pm CEST, 4:15 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN
Yulia Putintseva vs Elena Rybakina preview
Compatriots Yulia Putintseva and Elena Rybakina will go head-to-head on Friday in an all-Kazakh third round match at the 2020 Italian Open in Rome.
Putintseva is currently in the midst of one of the better phases of her career, getting some good wins under her belt in a row. The World No. 30 had a career-best run at the US Open and has, so far, carried over that form to the Italian capital.
In the second round, Putintseva faced a re-match of her US Open Round of 16 against Petra Martic. It was looking easy for the 25-year-old initially as she led 6-3, 5-1 at one point. But she failed to serve out the match twice, eventually dropping the set in a tiebreak.
Putintseva recovered quickly from her mental lapse, something that's usually not expected from her, and won the deciding set 6-4 to close out the match.
Elena Rybakina, on the other hand, seemed to be one of the most exciting young players to watch at the start of 2020. The 21-year-old was fifth on the Race to Shenzhen leaderboard before the tour was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But Rybakina's momentum has all but disappeared due to the lockdown. She lost two out of the first three matches she played after the resumption of the tour, and arrived in Rome extremely short on confidence.
In the second round, Rybakina overcame a tough challenge posed by Marie Bouzkova. She overturned an early deficit to win the first set 7-5, and had to dig deep once again in the second set before winning it in a tiebreak.
Yulia Putintseva vs Elena Rybakina head-to-head
The head-to-head between Yulia Putintseva and Elena Rybakina currently stands at 0-0. The Round of 16 match in Rome will be the first ever career meeting between the two Russian-born Kazakh players.
Yulia Putintseva vs Elena Rybakina prediction
The match will see Elena Rybakina's powerful and aggressive game being pitted against the solid counterpunching of Yulia Putintseva.
Putintseva likes to rally with her consistent and deep groundstrokes, not offering much pace to the opponent and constantly looking to extract errors off their racket. She can also end a rally with her precise and well-disguised drop shot when the opponent is pinned back in the court.
But as seen in her previous match, Putintseva is also capable of surrendering huge leads and having frequent meltdowns on the court. That is not something she would want to happen against a player like Elena Rybakina, whose big-hitting style can quickly capitalize on any opening.
Rybakina has one of the most effective serves on the women's tour. The World No. 18 can also generate effortless power off both wings, and has the skill to blow any opponent off the court on her day.
The high-bouncing surface at Rome also plays into the hands of the 1.84m tall Elena Rybakina; the ball will sit up perfectly for her to unleash those powerful groundstrokes.
Prediction: Elena Rybakina to win in three sets.Published 18 Sep 2020, 00:50 IST