RABAT, Morocco – The unseeded Tamara Zidansek dealt out the first upset of the Grand Prix de SAR La Princesse Meryem in the opening match of the tournament, coming from a set and a break down to oust No.3 seed Yulia Putintseva 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in two hours and 22 minutes.
The Slovenian had made her WTA main draw debut here exactly a year ago when she qualified and reached the second round, and the Rabat courts again proved fruitful as she recovered from an erratic start to gain control of her multi-faceted game. For Putintseva, though, the result is an extension of her woes during a tumultuous Fed Cup World Group II play-off against Great Britain two weeks ago.
Then, the Kazakh had experienced both the joy of winning from a double break – and three match points – down in the deciding set against Katie Boulter, and the pain of losing from a double break up – squandering a point for 5-1 – in the deciding set against Johanna Konta, with her team ultimately losing 1-3. Afterwards, the 24-year-old admitted to feeling “scared” on court with “the stress… there was a lot of emotion”.