Tennis star Anett Kontaveit defeated Caroline Garcia (France, WTA 45th) in straight sets, 6:3, 7:6 (7:1) in round one of the Rome tennis tournament Tuesday.
After an even start to the opening set, the Estonian, 24, from Tallinn, ranked 21st in the world, broke her opponent's serve in the eighth game to make things 5:3, taking the set on her own service in the very next game.
Set two started in much the same mode, with the French player committing three straight double faults in game seven and having her service broken once again. Kontaveit was presented with two potential match-winning games on her service at 5:4 and 6:5, but this time it was her opponent's turn to break, doing so both times and taking things to a tie-break.
However, Kontaveit, who reached the last 16 in the U.S. Open earlier this year, wrapped things up very quickly in the tie-break, racing to 7:1 to take the encounter.
"It was an even game," Kontaveit told portal Delfi (link in Estonian) post-match.
"Maybe I was a bit stronger and more stable on the service. My opponent made more double faults," she went on, adding that windy conditions had made serving difficult and were part to blame for not taking the match in normal play on her service.
"I possibly should have focused more on my service then. Perhaps I became a little distracted on the first serve and my opponent started attacking the second service well, which she is able to do," she added.
Kontaveit served up five aces to Garcia's two, committed two double faults to the French player's nine, and had a 54 percent success rate on the first serve compared with her opponent's 37.5 percent.
Kontaveit's next opponent in a competition where she reached the semi-finals in June 2018 is Russian player Svetlana Kuznetsova, ranked 38th in the world, who overcame American Bernarda Pera in three sets in her first round game.
Kuznetsova, 35, is a two-time grand slam tournament winner, albeit some years ago, having won the French Open in 2009 and the U.S. Open in 2004.
Editor: Andrew Whyte