World no. 2 and the US Open and Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka has not been among the favorites at Roland Garros and Wimbledon after a poor form in the rest of 2019 after Melbourne. The Japanese lost in the third round in Paris and her London campaign was even shorter, dropping out in the first round to Yulia Putintseva who delivered a 7-6, 6-2 win for the place in the last 64.
In what has been the fourth Wimbledon triumph for the Kazakh player, Yulia took down Osaka for the third time in straight sets, continuing where she left in Birmingham two weeks ago when she gave Naomi just five games. Osaka had the upper hand on the court with 34 winners but that came at the cost of 37 unforced errors while Putintseva opted for a more reduced approach, taming her shots to hit 15 winners and seven unforced errors, defending the initial shot nicely and creating chances on the return.
Osaka grabbed only one break and suffered three in her games, enough to push Yulia over the top and bow out on the surface she is very uncomfortable. Naomi kicked off the encounter with a break in game three before Yulia pulled it back at 2-3 to level the score and steal the momentum.
The Kazakh earned four mini-breaks in the tie break, taking it 7-4 after a backhand mistake from Osaka for a huge boost ahead of set number two. There, Naomi stood no chance with her negative approach, losing the last five games to propel Yulia through, suffering breaks in games five and seven before the Kazakh held at 30 in game eight for one of the biggest wins in a career.
On the other hand, Osaka will have to work a lot on her game, winning only 13 matches after the Australian Open and never acting like a player who has won two Majors in the last 12 months.