Viktymise makes a very good point here.
I actually think it is now looking very likely that Putinseva will be in the top 100 before the end of the year. Needless to say, that will make her the youngest player in the top 100 by a considerable margin and the youngest player to get into the top 100 in some while, probably since MLDB or perhaps since Oudin.
I'm just not sure that is necessarily such a good thing. There is no race to getting into the top 100 at the youngest age. No reward for doing so and no guarantee of success having done so.
The physical demands on the tour at the moment are greater that they have ever been. On the occassions when a sixteen to eighteen year old has cracked the top 100 in recent years the vast majority of the time they have not coped. Almost invariably they have been kicked back onto the ITF circuit and out of the top 100 within a couple of years. Some, like Paszek and Krajicek has hung in there and worked their way back into the top 100 after a considerable time outside it. Others, like Karatancheva, de Brito and Oudin have also fallen but as of yet have not found a way back, perhaps some of them will in the future, perhaps not.
What is very plain though is that the old rules of thumb of previous decades that if you wanted to be a successful tennis player you needed to crack the top 100 by 17 and top 50 by 18 and so on clearly no longer apply. These days it is becoming more and more common to see players making their breakthroughs into the top 20 at the ages of 22 to 25. See Kerber for the latest example of this trend. Some, like Kvitova, Wozniacki, Azarenka and Radwanska do get there earlier. But those four players are probably the best players of their generation and even they didn't reach the top 20 until they were at least 18 years old.
I am very weary of young, especially young and undersized, girls rushing their way into the top 100 before their time. History over the last decade tells us this is not the way to establish a long successful career in the game. I can easily see Putinseva going the same way as Oudin and de Brito, glory at 16, only to be followed by years of struggle afterwards. We will see.
Oh, and I do need to confess right now, I am not a fan of this girl so it is certainly possible I am biased. Yes, personally I wouldn't mind seeing Putinseva going into a downward spiral upon reaching the top 100 later this year. It could be quite entertaining in fact.
I do know that of my favourite teenagers working their way up the ranking, I don't feel any urge at all for them to hurry up. I would much rather they take their time and get there when they are emotionally and physically ready for the experience.
Alison Van Uytvanck right now is going at it at just the right pace for me. She is ranked around 260. In a couple of months she will be 18 years old. I would expect her to be reaching the top 100 sometime around the age of 19. That is about right. Even reaching the top 100 at the age of 20 is fine.
My other favourite youngster is Alexandra Krunic. In a couple of months she will be 19. Like de Brito, Oudin and Putintseva she is also diminutive in size. For that reason, even more, I do not want to see her rush. It is very clear she is not ready physically to handle top 100 tennis right now. Much better for her to continue to learn the game and gradually work on her conditioning and strength and make her move into the top 100 in a couple of years at the age of 21 or even 22. She has time.
Bottom line is this. In attempting to achieve the prize of being the youngest player in the top 100, or the top 50, I do wonder if players aren't sacrificing the much bigger prize of having a long, successful career at WTA level.