July 13, 2024

Open Court


Poots *salutes* Bencic fans after loss

MELBOURNE, Australia – The look on Yulia Putintseva’s face as she walked off the court after a tough three-set loss to Belinda Bencic did not necessarily presage what was to happen next.

But it appears the gears were grinding in there.

The Swiss and Aussie Bencic fans certainly were … refreshed by this point of the evening.

And chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani did ask them, in the middle of the third set, to be fair to both players.

But they weren’t THAT bad. We probably saw five worse crowds today alone.

Nevertheless, as Putintseva exited the court after two hours and 45 minutes and a 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 defeat that stung, she had a little routine prepared for those who would cheer against her. (Putintseva had her own cheering section, too, although it was smaller.

(Thankfully, at that point, the accordion music had stopped after going through an entire discography of Russian and Greek folk music that added a rather … bizarre soundtrack to the thing).

First, Putinteva did the “Shame on you” finger wag for a bit.

Unconvinced the crowd was paying adequate attention, she did it for a good while.

Putintseva tried to make the pro-Bencic crowd feel shame. But it seemed ineffective as a strategy. (Stephanie Myles/Tennis.Life)

She kept at it.

(Hmmm, she’s thinking, might be time to go to Plan B) (Stephanie Myles/Tennis.Life)

But at this point, she’s clearly contemplating a finger switch.

And she now has the crowd’s attention.

(Stephanie Myles/Tennis.Life)

Ahhhh, the heck with it. Let’s let it fly …

(Stephanie Myles/Tennis.Life)

And she did for awhile – double-fingered at times – all the way out between the two sets of stands on Court 20.

Check out some of the (circled) faces when they realize what she’s up to.

Epic moment.

The match was pretty good, too.

Meanwhile, Bencic hiked herself over the fence without even using the gate. That was an impressive feat in itself, after that marathon.

And the fans piled on (her fans are REALLY polite. And she thanked them for asking her for selfies. The utter civility of it all was rather in stark contrast to the previous five minutes).


Then Bencic met up with her father and her boyfriend and basically laughed all the way back to the main building.

Enjoyable victory, for sure.

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