Anett Kontaveit is through to the round of 16 at the WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, after beating Romanian Sorana Cîrstea in two, closely-fought sets, 6:4, 7:5.
Kontaveit, ranked 43 places above her opponent at 24th in the world, didn't get off to the best of starts, with her service broken in the opening game and then losing the second. However, after winning four games in a row, and pulling back three break points in the next game, the scoreline was nearly 5:2 in the Estonian's favor, but Cirstea managed instead to hang on till things were 4:3, then pull level in the enxt game.
Kontaveit held her serve in the next game and broke Cirstea's after things were 40:15 in her favor in the following, taking the set 6:4.
As an indicator of how close things were, only three points separated the players in the opening set, ERR's sports portal reports.
Set two continued in similar fashion, if not even more combative, with both players saving break points mid-way through the set until it was 5:4 to Kontaveit. The Romanian saved her service again to make it 5:5, but it was all Kontaveit thereafter as the Estonian, 25, from Tallinn, first held her serve, then gave herself two matchpoints in the next. While Cirstea held the first one, a double fault cost her the second, and with it the encounter.
Kontaveit's next opponent on the hard courts of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium is World number 8 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. The pair have met twice before, the last time in Doha last year, while the Belarusian has won both the encounters. Estonia's other major tennis star, Kaia Kanepi, is already out of the contest, after losing in round one to Shelby Rogers of the U.S. Rogers still has her next game to play, versus Belgian Elise Mertens.
Editor: Andrew Whyte