Tennis: Putintseva fights back to win maiden singles title in Nuremberg

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(Reuters) – Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva came back from a set down to beat unseeded Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia 4-6 6-4 6-2 and capture her first WTA singles title at the Nuremberg Cup on Saturday.

Top seed Putintseva converted six break points in all to finally win her first title in the third final of her career.

“It’s unbelievable, honestly. I enjoyed myself and I was fighting until the end,” she said. “It was a great fight, a great game for the final.

“Honestly, it was a little bit of luck, because I was running and hoping the ball was going to go in. When I was out of position, I was running and hit some incredible shots.”

The 24-year-old Putintseva, who lost in the St Petersburg final in 2017 and Guangzhou final last year, had been defeated by Zidansek in the pair’s only previous meeting in another three-setter in Morocco earlier this season.

It was Zidansek who broke a visibly angry Putintseva to take the first set but the Kazakh, twice a quarter-finalist at the French Open, gathered her composure to win the final two sets, dominating the third to bag the title.

“It is my best result this year, so no matter what happened today, I played well,” Zidansek said. “I’m going to go from Nuremberg with my head held high.”

Putintseva will not have much time to celebrate her victory though, as she heads straight to Roland Garros where she takes on Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson in the first round of the French Open, while Zidansek faces Belgium’s Elise Mertens.

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Clare Fallon

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