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Olga Poutchkova

tennis player
Full name: Olga Alekseyevna Poutchkova
Alias: Puchkova
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Bio Olga Poutchkova, coached by her father Alex Poutchkov, was No 1 in the World in the ITF U12 rankings in 1999. Olga won the U12 category in the Eddie Herr in 1999, where she beat Shahar Pe'er 6–2, 6–2 in the final, and a week later was runner up in the U12 category at the Orange Bowl, where qualifier Tatiana Golovin beat her 6–4, 3–6, 6–4.

Olga made her debut on the U18 circuit August 13, 2000 at the USTA Junior International Grass Court Championships where she was defeated in the first round. Just a week later, at the USTA Junior International Hard Court Championships she secured her first win in a U18 doubles match playing alongside Brazilian Caroline Neves. Alongside American Nicole Pitts she won her first U18 Junior tournament (out of 2 in doubles) in Ecuador, January 2001. She won her only U18 Junior title in singles at the US Junior International Hard Court Championships in 2003, beating Jessi Robinson 6–2, 6–2 in the final.
Poutchkova started her ITF professional career in March 2002, when she played in four tournaments in Australia, reaching the quarterfinals at Warnambool and Benalla. In 2003 she reached the final at Miami in January and the semifinal at Houston in June, and won her first professional tournament at Baltimore in July 2003 when she beat Jewel Peterson 6–2, 6–4 in the final. She won her second professional title July 11, 2004 in College Park, Maryland. She defeated first seeded Maureen Drake in the second round and Rossana de los Ríos in the final: 7–5, 4–6, 6–2. In Pelham, Alabama she reached another final, but was defeated 4–6, 6–4 6–0 by Slovak Zuzana Zemenová. She reached her fifth ITF final in August 2005, beating Stéphanie Dubois en route. In the final, Ashley Harkleroad was too strong as she beat Poutchkova 6–2, 6–1 to claim the Washington, D.C. title.

In 2006, she made her WTA Tour main draw debut in Hobart, Australia as a qualifier; however she lost in the first round to Mara Santangelo. Afterwards she tried to qualify for the 2006 Australian Open, but failed. She returned to the ITF tour and reached another final in Hammond, Louisiana at the end of March. She comfortably won the final, beating Andrea Hlaváčková 6–3, 6–4 to win her third ITF Title.

Her first WTA Tour main draw win in Birmingham followed in June, beating fellow qualifier Viktoriya Kutuzova. She then lost her second round match against 4th seed fellow Russian Elena Likhovtseva. Back in the IFF Tour she cruised to the final in Felixstowe's grass tournament, where she turned out to be way too strong for Australian Trudi Musgrave who was beaten by 6–2, 6–1. As being second seed in Bronx, New York she won yet another ITF title. First seed Melinda Czink was already beaten in the first round by Dutch Elise Tamaëla. Puchkova herself won all her matches and faced Belarusian Tatiana Poutchek final, which was easily won by Puchkova 6–3, 6–1.

After failing to qualify for the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon earlier in 2006, she qualified for the 2006 US Open, beating Virginie Pichet, Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro and Ryōko Fuda. She then faced Marion Bartoli in the first round and was not able to excel against the 26th seed (6–4, 6–0).

Puchkova reached her first WTA Tour final in Kolkata, India, in September 2006, losing to Martina Hingis (6–0, 6–4), but beating seventh seed Nicole Pratt en route. A week previously she had reached her first Tour singles quarter-final at the Tier III Bali, Indonesia notching up her first top 20 victory along the way when beating Ana Ivanovic.

At the end of the season, Puchkova reached her second WTA Tour final in Quebec City, Canada. She lost to Marion Bartoli 6–0, 6–0, becoming the first woman since 1993 to lose by that scoreline in a Tour final, although she was injured during the final.

Puchkova made her Top 100 debut in 2006, and peaked at a high of World No. 32 on 17 June 2007. However, her results soon began to tail off, and she didn't reach another quarterfinal until her last tournament of the 2007 season in Bell Challenge. Prior to that she failed to win back-to-back matches on the season, although after the Bell Challenge she managed to reach the final of an ITF event in Pittsburgh, losing to Ashley Harkleroad in three sets. By the end of the season, Puchkova's ranking had fallen to 92, and her record.

At the 2008 Australian Open, she won her first round match, but lost 6–1, 7–5 to World No. 1 Justine Henin in the second round. Her year would improve slightly as she finished runner-up in the Charlottesville ITF event falling to Alexis King ranked 640 in the world. She had to attempt to qualify for the 2008 French Open before falling to eventual quarterfinalist Carla Suárez Navarro of Spain in the qualifying playoff round. She then fell at the same stage in Wimbledon qualifying to Eva Hrdinová. She failed to qualify for another main draw of a tour-level tournament in 2008, but did receive direct entry into the Bell Challenge before losing in the second round to Melanie Oudin 6–1, 7–6(3). Her last event ended in a first round loss in San Diego, and her ranking dipped to 159. She went 15–28 on the season.

She fell in the final round of qualifying yet again in the 2009 Australian Open, and didn't enter into a WTA tournament until she was given the opportunity to qualify for the Bell Challenge. She did manage to qualify, but lost to Amra Sadiković in the opening main draw round. 19–22 by the end of the season, Puchkova's woes continued and she was ranked 226 in her last tournament of the year in Toronto.

After a couple of years struggling with injuries and personal problems, Puchkova managed to finish 2012 in top 100 with a semifinal in Baku and reaching 3rd at 2012 US Open. In 2013, she experienced some tough draws and had 4 1st round losses. But she turned tables around at the 2013 Brasil Tennis Cup, where she reached the final, beating Venus Williams en route. She lost to Monica Niculescu 6–2, 4–6, 6–4.
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