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June 20, 2019

Yulia Putintseva

Birmingham, England


6-2, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did you expect to win that easy? How is your love affair with grass?
YULIA PUTINTSEVA: I was expecting a tough battle out there. That's what really happen, because the score doesn't tell all, like, the fight which was there, because many games was, like, deuce/advantage that I could lose, and in the end I won them. So it was very good advantage for me.

Yeah, I'm happy to get through, and I'm happy to get another win on grass. That's great.

Q. Grass has not been your best surface in the past, so what is it that you think has come together this week?
YULIA PUTINTSEVA: It's not that it wasn't my best surface. I think I was, like, especially in Birmingham, I was getting very tough draws, I would say. I lost to Strycova, which is very tricky on grass, and I lost one year when I was in quallies to Larcher De Brito, which is also a good player on grass.

This year I just started to feel a little bit better with my movement, I would say. Before, I wasn't moving that great. But, yeah, I'm happy to get some matches before Wimbledon. That's great. And I'm hoping that I can do even better here (smiling).

Q. Do you think your game matches up well to her?
YULIA PUTINTSEVA: Yeah, it feels great to beat World No. 1. It's always a great feeling to beat someone as good as Naomi.

Yeah, I felt like I was playing good today. And the last time we played in Hobart it was a different match because it was on hard court, and it was very, very windy that day. Yeah, the game was a little bit different compared to today.

Q. You won your first career title in Nurnberg a few weeks ago. Tell me about how that has affected your confidence. Do you feel you're playing better? That title was quite a massive one.
YULIA PUTINTSEVA: Definitely the title in Nurnberg gave me more confidence in my game, but I don't think I start to play much better. I was playing good already Nurnberg and the weeks before when I was playing Miami Open, and my game was getting there and getting a little bit better.

It just was a matter of how many matches you play more than titles. I got a lot of matches this year and the beginning of the year. That's what helped me to grow up my level a little bit.

Q. Naomi is a fighter, of course. Do you enjoy being the underdog when you go up against a top player like Naomi?
YULIA PUTINTSEVA: Yes, I mean, it's a good feeling when no one is expecting you to win and that you can come and play with a little bit of freedom.

Yeah, I mean, but in the end, it doesn't matter because you're playing a match. You don't really focusing who is underdog or who is the favorite. You're just there and you're trying to do your best.

Q. How pleased are you with the way you closed out the match? You never gave her a chance to get back into it?
YULIA PUTINTSEVA: I think she got back. She got back when I was leading 2-0 and then she got back. She broke me again. She was leading 3-2. She was there, she was coming back.

But I'm happy that I didn't lose my focus and just did again some great shots, did some good stuff. And Naomi also did some unforced errors, so that's what help me to come back and to make the match in two sets.

Q. Do you feel like you raised your level a bit from 3-All, though, in the second set?
YULIA PUTINTSEVA: I think I just changed the rhythm a little bit, not that I raised my level, because my level was there the whole match because I was focusing on that. I just changed the rhythm a little bit when it was 3-All.

Q. Do you feel that with grass not being your favorite surface, did you feel, however, you had the edge, or was it the case I have nothing to lose and I'm not giving in?
YULIA PUTINTSEVA: The matches that I play here, I feel like it's kind of like preparation, because it's the first matches on grass for the season. But it's very important, because the grass season is not long. It's just, like, few tournaments.

I felt like I need to be more free with my shots, with my game, and just doesn't matter what's gonna happen. I need to try some different thing, be more aggressive, try to change the rhythm. That's what help me to make some good shots today and to close the match.

Q. You had a great tempo of the game. I see a lot of fist pumps to your box. Was that important? Do we expect to see a lot of that at Wimbledon?
YULIA PUTINTSEVA: Hopefully, yeah.

Q. It doesn't matter what surface you're on. You always seem to cause the upset no matter where in the world you are. How do you keep your composure during those crucial moments?
YULIA PUTINTSEVA: Sometimes I don't keep (smiling). No, it's actually very tough at some point just to stay calm and get back to the rhythm, to be focusing. And especially when the opponent is breaking you back or start to make a lot of winners, you just have to, like, relax a little bit and sometimes give your opponent, like, say, Bravo, you made good shot. I couldn't do anything.

That's what help me today. Some shots I couldn't do anything with them, and I just had to forget them and take the chances when I can.

Q. I think you actually got one of the loudest cheers all week when you beat Naomi. Do you feel like the Birmingham crowd was for you today? Do you enjoy that atmosphere with the British fans?
YULIA PUTINTSEVA: Yeah, I was actually surprised that they was all, like, so behind me. That was, like, surprising for me.

But, yeah, I love the fans. I'm coming back here, trying to come back here every year. I like the courts here. I like the -- not the weather (smiling). But I like the city center. And of course sometimes it's raining and you have to take an umbrella to go there to see the city. I love also the food here.

Q. But in terms of your ranking, you've had your first-ever WTA title last month and amazing results this month. I guess for you are you thinking your ranking isn't quite showing how good you are? And how high do you think you can go now this year?
YULIA PUTINTSEVA: For me, the ranking, it's really just a number. I mean, as long as I'm doing my best in the court, I'm trying to improve my game, I think the ranking is going to go up unless some injuries, so whatever happens.

But for me, the most important to improve my game and my skills, my serve and the other shots, then the ranking, as I said, just a number.

Q. You said you liked the food here. Have you had a chance to have the famous Birmingham curry yet?
YULIA PUTINTSEVA: No. Actually I'm going pretty much the same places during the tournament. I'm staying, like, in one routine. I'm taking the same meals. So, yeah.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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