Anett Kontaveit lost her Cincinnati Tennis Tournament quarter final encounter with world number 10 Naomi Osaka (Japan) in three sets Wednesday night, 6:4, 2:6, 5:7.
Kontaveit took the first set in a tournament relocated to New York due to coronavirus restrictions, coming back from a 2:1 deficit to win three games in a row, holding off a fightback from two-time grand slam winner Osaka to take the set 6:4.
The second set, however, saw roles reversed as Osaka found her game. While the Estonian, ranked 20th in the World, broker her opponents serve in the first game and took the second, Osaka took the initiative, winning six games in a row to take the set.
This put an end to Kontaveit's recent form of winning in straight sets, something she achieved in the previous three rounds at the Cincinnati tournament, and lined things up for a deciding set.
This was close; after Osaka won the first three games in a row, almost a continuation of the previous set, Kontaveit won a game, lost another, then won three to bring things level at 4:4 until Osaka started to dominate again, taking things to 6:5 and then winning the final game and thus set and match.
Kontaveit serve up five aces in the encounter, and committed three double faults. Osaka's statistics were nine and five respectively.
Post match, the Estonian, 24, from Tallinn, said she was disappointed and somewhat at a loss to explain the result after starting strongly.
"The goal had been to play her game, be aggressive and repel her big shots and service," Kontaveit said, according to news portal Delfi (link in Estonian).
While the strategy seemed to work in the opening set, her opponent had got the measure of things in the second; the turning point was early on in the second set, Kontaveit said, when, leading 2:0, Osaka, who faces Elise Bertens of Belgium in the semi-finals, held off having her service broken with an ace, and seemed to step things up after that.
The tournament is in any case traditionally a warm-up for the U.S. Open which starts on Monday, still more so this year as it was held at the same venue – the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Editor: Andrew Whyte