Top seed Iga Swiatek dumped out of Wimbledon by Putintseva

Yulia Putintseva roars with delight during her match with Iga Swiatek
Yulia Putintseva roars with delight during her match with Iga SwiatekReuters
Iga Swiatek's (23) Wimbledon hopes went up in flames as the world number one disintegrated under huge pressure from fiery Kazakh Yulia Putintseva (29) who battled back superbly to win their third-round clash 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 on Saturday.

On paper the fiery 35th-ranked Kazakh should have been easy pickings for the top-seeded Swiatek, who had not dropped a set in their previous four meetings and came into the encounter on a 21-match winning streak that included banking a fifth grand slam title at the French Open.

Yet slick grass courts just do not suit Swiatek and in a cauldron atmosphere on Court One, Swiatek disintegrated under huge pressure from Putintseva, who dusted herself down after losing the first set to launch an attacking barrage that the Pole could not contain.

The huge Swiatek ground strokes that had inflicted so much punishment in the opener were now being returned with interest, while the Pole's movement seemed suddenly sluggish, her feet a fraction of a second slower to adjust to the ball.

Putintseva broke twice in the second set and twice more in the third before sealing victory to set up a fourth-round clash against Jelena Ostapenko.

When Swiatek netted a backhand return on match point, Putintseva's huge smile filled Court One and the fans, who seemed to switch their allegiance to the Kazakh in the second set, celebrated with her.

"This is crazy guys it was great energy from all of you and I was trying to entertain you more and more with my shots and I was taking energy from you guys," she said.


For Swiatek it was yet another disappointment at Wimbledon, where last year's run to the quarter-finals remains her best effort.

It was not therefore as big a shock as it may have seemed. None of her 22 singles titles have come on grass, a surface on which she has never even reached a final.

You would have been hard pushed to believe that as she found her range in the first set, thumping winners off both flanks and breaking in the sixth game when Putintseva netted a backhand.

Yet after sealing the opener, everything turned nasty for Swiatek. Putinseva broke in the fourth game of the second set, roaring her delight as Swiatek fired a forehand wide.

The Kazakh then saved three break points to hold before inflicting another blow on the Pole's serve and seeing out the set.

That was the first set Swiatek had dropped since the second round of the French Open on May 29 and she immediately left the court for a bathroom break.

She took an age to return and the crowd, egged on by Putintseva, showed their frustration with a slow hand clap and a smattering of boos when she reappeared.

That seemed to stoke Putintseva's fires further and she immediately broke when Swiatek netted a backhand after another crunching return from the Kazakh.

That was not the end of the punishment for Swiatek, however, as Putintseva broke her serve again at the next opportunity for a 3-0 lead from which point there was no way back.

After passing up her first two match points, Putintseva earned a third with a crafty drop shot and moments later she was leaning back in her chair, rubbing her eyes in delight and disbelief.


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