Kontaveit wins Cleveland WTA tournament

Anett Kontaveit.
Anett Kontaveit. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Anett Kontaveit won the WTA Tennis in the Land tournament in Cleveland, Ohio Saturday after beating Romanian player Irina-Camelia Begu in straight sets, 7.6 (7.5), 6:4.

Kontaveit's victory comes just before the U.S. Open starting Monday, and the Cleveland competition was the last warm-up for the final grand slam tournament of the year.

It is Kontaveit's second WTA tournament win; her first came in 2017 at the Ricoh Open.

Kontaveit has reached nine WTA tournament finals, most recently in Eastbourne, England, in late June, where she lost to Latvian Jelena Ostapenko.

Since Eastbourne, Kontaveit had seen a dip in form and went out in round one of three consecutive tournaments – the olympics, Montreal and Cincinnati – so completely reversed this pattern on the hard courts at the Jacobs Pavilion in Cleveland at the weekend.

The Estonian has also started recently working with a new coach, on a trial basis, former top player Dmitry Tursunov.

Kontaveit, ranked 30th in the world, defeated local player Lauren Davis in the Cleveland opening round in three sets, 1:6, 6:0, 6:0, then saw off French player Caroline Garcia in straight sets, 6:3, 6:3.

On Thursday, she had a much more prolonged encounter with olympic doubles champion Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, beating her in three sets 6:3, 5:7, 6:2, booking her place in the semi-finals against world number 43 Sara Sorribes Tormo (Spain).

The last time the pair had met, in October 2020 in Ostrava in the Czech Republic, the Spanish player was triumphant, and Kontaveit was also replaced by Sorribes Tormo in Rome in April, after pulling out due to injury.

She was back to straight sets forms, however, this time, taking the match and her ticket to the final 6:4, 6:4 in a semi-final whose second set was almost a carbon copy of the first.

Saturday's final pitched her against world number 63 Irina-Camelia Begu (Romania) whose route to the match saw her defeat Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova (ranked 32nd in the world), Polona Hercog of Slovenia (86th), Aliaksandra Sasnovich (Belarus, 90th) and Magda Linette (Poland, 48th).

The final started at 8 p.m. Estonian time (1 p.m. local time) and saw Kontaveit take the lead 5:3, only to let the Romanian win two games in a row. Kontaveit did managed to rescue four break points, however, and the set ended up a tie-break, which Kontaveit was able to take 7:5.

Begu served up four aces and committed two double faults in the first set; for the Estonian the same stats were two and zero.

In the second set, Kontaveit started off dominant again, but a 3:1 lead soon receded to a 4:3 scoreline. However, Kontaveit, 25, from Tallinn, only let her opponent win one more game, taking the set 6:4 and with it the tournament.

In set two, Kontaveit didn't serve up any aces, but committed only one double fault to Begu's three. The Romanian served one ace.

Kontaveit won 74 percent of her first serves in the entire match to Begu's 64.8 percent, an 58.6 percent of her second serve to her opponent's 53.8 percent.

The Estonian won 35.2 percent of her first serve return points to Begu's 26 percent; with second serve return points the same figures were 46.2 percent and 41.4 percent for Kontaveit and Begu respectively.

Kontaveit realized both her break points, Begu just one out of five.

Kontaveit is straight back into competition on Monday at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York for round one of the U.S. Open, where she meets Samantha Stosur (Australia, ranked 186th).


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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