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Fair play or not? Putintseva hitting Muguruza at the net stirs debate

The ever-feisty Putintseva upsets Muguruza to reach the round of 16 at the Italian Open

Yulia Putintseva at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Italy Yulia Putintseva at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Italy Image Credit: Zuma / Panoramic

WTA Rome 1000 | Draws | Schedule

Tennis was long known to be an aristocratic gentleman’s sport. However, over the years, those barriers have been breaking bit by bit. From players of colour dominating the game to the clothes getting shorter, the sport today is far different from it’s early days.

One thing that has remained constant is the concept of ‘fair play’. Fellow players and crowds love a good act of sportsmanship and they will make sure they let you know if they consider you a bad sport.

At times, however, the line between being fair and having a killer instinct can be a very thin one. That thin line came to the fore on Wednesday at the Internazionali d’ Italia in Rome during the second-round clash between seventh seed Garbine Muguruza and Yulia Putintseva.

Early in the second set, after Muguruza had won the first set 6-3, Putintseva had the chance to hit a passing shot with her Spanish opponent at the net. The Kazakh player, better known as ‘Poots’ among tennis fans, hit a shot that went straight at Muguruza, hitting her opponent in the bargain.

Muguruza was clearly unhappy with Putintseva’s play and let her opponent know that. As the match wore on, the Spaniard served for the match at 6-3, 5-4 (30-0) but the feisty Putintseva fought back to win 3-6, 7-6, 6-1 and move into the round of 16.

But that wasn’t the end of the drama. Putintseva celebrated her match point by brushing both her shoulders before going up to the net for a quick handshake with Muguruza.

Legit Play, Poor Stuff: Fans divided over Putintseva play

As usual, Putintseva’s play gathered eyeballs online and stirred a debate whether it was considered fair play. While many considered it a legit play, others called out Putintseva, saying it wasn’t right.

Either way, Putintseva is through and will next face ninth seed Ons Jabeur, who won in Madrid last week. Jabeur extended her winning streak to eight matches with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Ajla Tomljanovic on Wednesday.

There promises to be more fireworks in Rome on Thursday as ‘The Magician’ Jabeur takes on ‘Poots’ Putintseva.

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