Indian Wells R2: Yulia Putintseva vs (27) Kristina Mladenovic
A fascinating second round clash on Friday at the BNP Paribas Open features Yulia Putintseva and Kristina Mladenovic. The extreme contrast in styles between these two is sure to make for an entertaining clash. Mladenovic is the more established player, however Putintseva’s form heading into this match is far greater than her French opponent and the slower surface at Indian Wells may play into the Kazakh’s hands in this match-up. An upset could be on the cards.
Yulia Putintseva’s recent form has been surprisingly consistent, playing at a reasonably high level of tennis ever since her stunning first round victory over Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open. The Kazakh has long been seen as a player with great potential but has struggled to turn that potential into good results, that seems to be starting to change as Yulia is now up to a career high ranking of 56. Putintseva stormed through her opening round match the BNP Paribas Open, requiring just over an hour to record a 6-0 6-1 victory over a rusty Shuai Peng.
Kristina Mladenovic has generally struggled this year, amassing a 3-6 win/loss record at tour events. The Frenchwoman also has a poor record at Indian Wells having only won 1 match in her 3 previous appearances at the event. Mladenovic’s record at the event is not surprising given the relatively slow speed of the courts. Mladenovic has had a good amount of time to regroup after a first round loss in Doha and will be hoping to turn her poor form around in the Californian desert.
Mladenovic holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Putintseva. The Frenchwoman has won the two most recent clashes between the pair including a 6-2 7-6 victory on the indoor hard-courts of Limoges in 2014 in their most recent match.
I fancy an upset in is match. Putintseva’s recent form has generally been far more impressive than Mladenovic’s and I believe the slower surface will favour Putintseva in this match-up. Yulia has generally struggled against tall, powerful opponents and will see this as a great opportunity to begin to make amends. I think Yulia will be able to frustrate Mladenovic with her great movement whilst also being able to expose Mladneovic’s poor movement with her variety of shots.