Yulia Putintseva can be chasing her second WTA Tour title this yr when the native hopeful headlines the inaugural girls’s Astana Open in Kazakhstan starting on Monday.
The 26-year-old is the highest seed for the Astana Open and faces Ekaterine Gorgodze within the first spherical.
Putintseva gained the WTA 250 Hungarian Grand Prix in July and is in search of to create historical past as the primary lady to win the Astana Open in a nation that has demonstrated a rising ardour for tennis.
Ranked 49 within the WTA rankings, she is in sound type after reaching the semifinals in Portoroz, Slovenia, in mid-September.
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She is joined by Billie Jean King Cup teammate Zarina Diyas in the principle draw of the WTA 250 held in Nur-Sultan.
Fellow locals Anna Danilina and Zhibek Kulambayeva acquired wildcards into the house Open.
Diyas will face a qualifier within the opening spherical, Danilina will play French star Kristina Mladenovic, whereas Kulambayeva will face second seed Alison van Uytvanck.
It’s a important fortnight for Kazakhstan, which is internet hosting the WTA event following an ATP 250, which concludes on Sunday.
The Kazakhstan Tennis Federation has elevated its funding in tennis over the previous decade.
In 2021 alone, it has held a $60,000 Worldwide Tennis Federation event and one other 9 occasions providing $15,000 to $25,000 for girls.
However the addition of a WTA Tour occasion to the native calendar has created pleasure in Kazakhstan in line with the Federation’s vice-president Yuriy Polskiy.
“We’re ready and excited to have the event and we’re excited that we now have the chance,” Polskiy mentioned.
“Even within the troublesome circumstances [of the pandemic], we now have tried to make use of all of our will and assets to do that.
“We have now a whole lot of good girls taking part in within the prime 100 and in addition a brand new technology coming. We need to present to the world that Kazakhstan is a brand new nation on the tennis map and that we’re progressing.”
The primary Astana Open has drawn a fair discipline and shapes as a possibility for a number of girls to make a big strike within the 2021 season.
Putintseva is the one lady within the discipline to win a title this yr, however a number of of her rivals have produced good runs and are greater than able to claiming the primary Astana Open.
Putintseva is in a half of the draw stuffed with gifted gamers, together with Mladenovic, who led France to success within the Billie Jean King Cup in 2019, and the fifth-seed Ana Konjuh.
Konjuh, a Croatian, was a quarterfinalist on the 2016 US Open and is on the comeback path after lacking three seasons with accidents. She has confirmed promising indicators all through 2021.
Taking part in as a wildcard entrant in Miami in April, Konjuh reached the third spherical after defeating former US Open finalist Madison Keys after which French Open champion Iga Swiatek.
Konjuh defeated Putintseva within the Serbian Open when, after qualifying, she reached her first WTA Tour closing in 4 years earlier than an damage compelled her to retire within the closing towards Paula Badosa.
Konjuh performs Anna Blinkova in her opening-round match. Will probably be their first assembly.
Within the backside half of the draw, van Uytvanck will search her fifth title, which begins with a conflict towards Kazakh wildcard Kulambayeva within the first spherical.
The Belgian van Uytvanck gained a WTA 125 title in Nottingham in June, defeating one other Astana Open aspirant Arina Rodionova within the closing.
One other Belgian, 75th-ranked Greet Minnen, performs Kaja Juvan, who gained their solely match, on grass in Mallorca in 2019.
Clara Burel, whose junior contemporaries Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez made an amazing splash on the US Open, has confirmed good promise on the WTA Tour.
The Frenchwoman is the eighth seed subsequent week and performs Luxembourg veteran Mandy Minella in her opening-round match.