The visiting Latvian tennis team holds a 3:2 lead over Estonia after the first match day of the Merko Cup in Tallinn Wednesday, with the women players performing more successfully than the men so far.
The exhibition tournament at the Tondi Tennis Center started Wednesday, and will continue on Thursday, with the best tennis players from Estonia and Latvia facing off in both singles and doubles formats.
Latvia won the first match on Wednesday, as 18-year old Karlis Ozolins (ATP 1,133rd) defeated the recently crowned Estonian champion Vladimir Ivanov (ATP 738th) 6:1, 6:3
Estonian top tennis player Anett Kontaveit (WTA 22nd) countered that loss, defeating Anastasija Sevastova (WTA 43rd) 6:1, 6:2 in under an hour.
In the following men's doubles match, the Latvian pair of Karlis Ozolins and Ernests Gulbis (ATP 162nd) beat Estonians Vladimir Ivanov and Jürgen Zopp (ATP 552nd) 7:6 (1), 6:4.
The fourth match of the day saw Estonian Kaia Kanepi (WTA 99th) face off against Jelena Ostapenko (WTA 41st). After one-and-a-half hours of play, Kanepi defeated the former French Open champion 6:3, 6:4, bringing the overall score between the teams to 2:2.
Kanepi had expressed concerns over the tournament's venue earlier on and before one had been decided, saying she needed hard court experience ahead of the U.S. Open later in the summer. Kanepi, a former U.S Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon quarter finalist, found the Tondi choice amenable.
Latvia was able to cap off the match day with a victory, when Ernests Gulbis beat Jürgen Zopp 6:3, 6:4.
The Merko Cup will continue on Thursday. The remaining schedule for the exhibition tournament is as follows:
Thursday, July 30
11 a.m. Kaia Kanepi - Anastasija Sevastova
followed by Jürgen Zopp - Karlis Ozolins
followed by women's doubles
6 p.m. Ernests Gulbis - Vladimir Ivanov
followed by Anett Kontaveit - Jelena Ostapenko
followed by mixed doubles
Results after day 1:
Vladimir Ivanov - Karlis Ozolins 0:2 (1:6, 3:6)
Anett Kontaveit - Anastasija Sevastova 2:0 (6:1, 6:2)
Men's doubles Zopp-Ivanov - Gulbis-Ozolins 0:2 (6:7 (1), 4:6)
Kaia Kanepi - Jelena Ostapenko 2:0 (6:3, 6:4)
Jürgen Zopp - Ernests Gulbis 0:2 (3:6, 4:6)
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste