Jule Niemeier is the last remaining German to enter the third round of the US Open: After a comeback in the first set, the German from Dortmund also won set two against Yulia Putintseva.
Niemeier beat Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan, who is 70 places higher in the world rankings, 6-4, 6-3 on Thursday thanks to nerves of steel and solid groundstrokes. On Saturday, the player from Dortmund will play either Russia’s Anastasia Potapova or China’s Qinwen Zheng for a place in the last 16. “She stayed calm, played her game through and absolutely deserved to win,” said a satisfied national coach Barbara Rittner to Eurosport.
Niemeier is the only remaining German tennis player at the last Grand Slam tournament of the year. In the men’s singles, for the first time in 38 years, no German professional reached the second round of the hard court tournament at Flushing Meadows Park. Due to the cancellations of the not quite fit Olympic champion Alexander Zverev and the pregnant Angelique Kerber as well as the bad luck of the draw, the expectations in the German camp had been very low anyway.
After false start, Niemeier builds on performance from opening match
The Russian-born Putintseva, who has been playing for Kazakhstan since 2012 and who Niemeier’s coach Christopher Kas described as a “defensive artist”, initially had problems against the German. But after trailing 3-0 in the first set, Niemeier found her rhythm much better and continued her strong performance from the opening win against former Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin. With her dynamism and hard hitting, she drove the more experienced Putintseva to despair.
Putintseva, who according to Kas is always “good for one or two antics”, was not helped by a medical time-out to treat a torn fingernail. Niemeier didn’t let the break rattle her and continued to play her game in an impressive manner.
Big leap forward in the world rankings
Niemeier is in the main draw of the US Open for the first time in her career, it is only her third Grand Slam tournament. The two opening wins will see Germany’s tennis hopefuls make a big leap forward in the world rankings from her current 108th place.