Jule Niemeier spread her arms and then showed the audience the winning fist: After the 23-year-old surprised everyone by reaching the quarter-finals in Wimbledon two months ago, she is continuing her successful journey in New York.
Niemeier is the only remaining German tennis player at the last Grand Slam tournament of the year. For the first time in 38 years, there was no German professional in the second round of the hard court tournament in Flushing Meadows Park. Due to the cancellation of the not quite fit Olympic champion Alexander Zverev and the pregnant Angelique Kerber as well as the loss of luck, the expectations in the German camp were very low anyway.
The German initially had problems against Russian-born Putinzewa, who has been playing for Kazakhstan since 2012 and whom Niemeier’s coach Christopher Kas described as a “defense artist”. But after falling 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 toughness she drove the more experienced Putintseva to despair
Putintseva, who according to Kas is always good for “one or the other antics”, even a medical time-out to treat a torn fingernail did not help. “I knew that she could be very toxic on the pitch,” said Niemeier: “But it didn’t really bother me that she threw the bat two or three times. She was still relatively calm by her standards.”