Putintseva stuns Osaka in huge Wimbledon shock
Yulia Putintseva produced a huge shock on day one of Wimbledon 2019 as she beat world No 2 Naomi Osaka 7-6 6-2 in hugely impressive fashion.
Putintseva was far from an unknown quantity for Osaka, having recently knocked her out in Birmingham, and again proved a resolute obstacle for the Japanese, fighting back after an early break to take the first set on a tiebreak.
The Kazakh player, who achieved her career-high singles ranking of 27 in February 2017, came up with a memorable performance on Centre Court.
She took the opening set 7-4 on a tie-break, and refused to let US and Australian Open champion Osaka back into the match as the Japanese star wilted in the second set.
The second seed could only muster two games thereafter and a jubilant Putintseva was able to close out the match with consummate ease.
Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva celebrates after winning the first game against Japan's Naomi Osaka during their women's singles first round match on the first day of the 2019 Wimbledon ChampionshipsGetty Images
She broke the Japanese second seed twice in a dominant second set, wrapping up victory in an hour and 36 minutes when her opponent sliced a backhand into the net, becoming the first top-two seed to lose in the women's first round since Martina Hingis in 2001.
Osaka's form since winning her second major in January has been patchy - she had made only one semi-final since winning the Australian Open, had suffered a third-round exit at Roland Garros and had entered Wimbledon on the back of a second-round defeat by Putintseva in Birmingham.
Six of her seven defeats in 2019 had been to players ranked outside world's top 20 while the 39th-ranked Putintseva was looking for her third top-five win of the season.
If the omens had appeared to be conspiring against Osaka, she did herself no favours on court. Things begun well when she broke in the third game, but it was not long before momentum swung towards her opponent, who broke back for 3-3 before claiming the first set on a tiebreak.
Naomi Osaka is the biggest casualty on day one of WimbledonGetty Images
Osaka looked increasingly despondent in the second as the unforced errors came thick and fast. After two breaks of serve, Putintseva quickly brought up two match points. Osaka saved the first, but a 38th unforced error from the Japanese proved terminal.
It took her just an hour and 36 minutes to wrap up victory when her opponent sliced a backhand into the net, becoming the first top-two seed to lose in the women's first round since Martina Hingis in 2001. Osaka cut a despondent figure as she left Centre Court - having made 38 unforced errors.
Putintseva made just seven, and she will next take on Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland in the second round.