Anett Kontaveit is through to the semi-finals of the WTA 500 St. Petersburg Open in Russia, after defeating Belinda Bencic of Slovenia in straight sets, 7:6 (7), 6:2, becoming the first women's pro player to string together 18 indoor wins in-a-row since Justine Henin accomplished that feat in 2010.
Kontaveit had beaten Swiss player Jill Teichmann in the opening round and Sorana Cîrstea of Romania in the quarter finals to set up her encounter with Bencic, ranked 24th in the world and a Tokyo Olympics gold medalist.
In set one, the Estonian, ranked 9th in the world, broke Bencic's first seve and was soon 3:0 up, but Bencic then strung together five game wins in-a-row to make things 5:3 in her favor.
Kontaveit held her seve and her nerve, and then convincingly broke the Slovak player's serve in the next game.
Things headed into a tie-break situation which was also closely-matched, with Bencic having the chance to take the set when 6:4 up in points, but again had her serve broken, while Kontaveit was able to storm ahead to 9:7.
Kontaveit was dominant in the follow-up set, and was soon at 4:0 up before Bencic won her serve and then broke Kontaveit's, to make things 4:2.
However, this was the last game Bencic took as Kontaveit broke and then held to take the set 6:2.
The entire encounter lasted just under an hour-a-three-quarters.
Kontaveit plays top Latvian player and the winner of the all-Baltic Eastbourne tennis tournament final the pair played last June, Jelena Ostapenko, in the semi-finals.
18 IN A ROW!! @AnettKontaveit_ becomes the first player since Justine Henin in 2010 to win 18 consecutive matches indoors!— wta (@WTA) February 11, 2022
The No.2 seed will next face Ostapenko for a place in the #FormulaTX final pic.twitter.com/aG1OLzCDoG
Ostapenko defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich (Belarus) in three sets, to book her spot in the semis.
The overall head-to-head record between Kontaveit and Ostapenko stands at 2:1 in the Estonian's favor.
Kontaveit is the second seed at the tournament.
Editor: Andrew Whyte