Kanepi and Kontaveit to start Australian Open on Tuesday morning

Anett Kontaveit (left) and Kaia Kanepi.
Anett Kontaveit (left) and Kaia Kanepi. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

The first tennis Grand Slam tournament of the season - the Australian Open - is set to begin on Monday night Estonian time with Estonians Anett Kontaveit (WTA 22nd) and Kaia Kanepi (WTA 65th) in action on the opening day.

Estonian top player Anett Kontaveit is placed 21st for the tournament and drew Belarusian player Aliaksandra Sasnovich as her first round match-up. The match will be the third match of the third court, estimated to begin between 5-6 a.m. Estonian time on Tuesday.

Kontaveit and Sasnovich have faced off on nine prior occasions with the Belarusian holding a 5:4 record. Their latest meeting was in Madrid in 2019, where Kontaveit took a dominating 6:0 opening set, but dropped the next two sets to eventually lose the match. Sasnovich also knocked Kontaveit out of last year's Austarlian Open in straight sets.

"She has not been a comfortable opponent for me, I must have played her a hundred times. [The draw] could have gone worse, could have gone better. It is not a simple draw, but I must take it one game at a time," Kontaveit said ahead of the match.

Kaia Kanepi (WTA 65th) will face off against Latvian player Anastasija Sevastova (WTA 53rd), with the match-up between Baltic players scheduled as the second match on Court 8, likely to begin somewhere around 3-4 a.m. Estonian time on Tuesday.

The two have faced off in official competition twice and Kanepi has been victorious on both occasions, their last match however coming in 2011. An exhibition tournament in Tallinn last summer ende with Kanepi taking a three-set victory.

"I have just played here some time ago, a tough match. She is uncomfortable," Kanepi admitted.

Both Estonian top women tennis players have enjoyed success in the lead-up to the opening Grand Slam of the year with Kanepi reaching the final in the Gippsland Trophy, where her 14-match win streak was snapped by world 20-ranked Elise Mertens.

Kontaveit reached the final of the Grampians Trophy, a tournament organized specifically for players isolating in their hotel rooms after a positive case of COVID-19 was discovered on the plane Kontaveit and many other players arrived in Australia on. The final however was not played due to there being a time crunch with matches having already been delayed on Thursday.

The Australian Open is set to run from February 8-21.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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