Anett Kontaveit is through to the second round of the Australian Open in Melbourne after defeating Aliaksandra Sasnovich (Belarus) in straight sets, 7:5, 6:2.
Sasnovich, ranked 92nd in the world, took an early lead after breaking Kontaveit's serve, but the Estonian returned the favor in the next game 40:0 to tie things up in terms of games, 2:2.
Things remained almost even stevens until Kontaveit broke her opponent's serve a second time in the 12th game, to wrap things up 7:5.
The second set started in a similar fashion to the first, with Sasnovich 2:0 up after breaking Kontaveit's service again, but that was the last game she won in the set as the Estonian won six games on the trot to make it 6:2 and taking the set and match.
Both players served up four aces each, ERR's sports portal reports, while Sasnovich committed one double fault. Kontaveit, 25, from Tallinn, converted four out of nine break points compared with two out of six for her opponent.
Sasnovich committed a far larger number of unforced errors – 32 – than Kontaveit (10).
Kontaveit told Estonian reporters post-match that: "I played well at key stages in the first set, and then in the second set I was able to get out of a difficult situation, break [Sasnovich's serve] back and then play nicely."
"She was somehow insecure at some point; I felt like I had a definite goal and was playing my game, but if the situation had become even,s he might have made more of those errors."
Kontaveit next faces Heather Watson (U.K., WTA 60th), who saw off Kristýna Plíšková (Czech Republic) in two tie-break sets, 7:6 (4) and 7:6 (3).
The pair have faced each five times in the past, with the Estonian leading 3:2, including winning their two most recent encounters, at Wimbledon in 2019 (7:5, 6:1) and Brisbane the year before that (6:0, 6:3).
Kontaveit made the final of the Grampians Trophy, also in Melbourne, a last-minute tournament held for WTA players who missed the Gippsland Trophy – a competition which Kanepi was also a finalist in – due to longer quarantine periods on arrival in Australia, having been on a plane carrying an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. In the event, the Grampians Trophy final was called off as it would have clashed with day one of the main Australian Open on Monday.
Editor: Andrew Whyte