Kaia Kanepi lost her round one encounter at the Berlin WTA500 tournament, to Czech player and world number seven Karolina Pliškova, in three sets, 7:6 (5), 6: 0, 6: 0. While the Estonian served well in the first set, her first service deteriorated after that, and her opponent strung together 12 games on the trot.
Berlin is also the first of the classic summer grass court competitions, culminating in the Wimbledon Championships, which starts later on this month.
The head-to-head record between Kanepi and Pliškova stood at 3:0 in favor of the Czech player going in to the competition.
Kanepi, who had recently dropped out of the top 40 in the WTA rankings – just, to 41st – took things to a tie-break situation in set one, going on to win 7:6 (5).
However, while Kanepi, 37, from Haapsalu, rescued one break point in set two, game one, she lost the next via a double fault, going on to lose 12 games in a row as the Czech raced to 6:0 sets twice in a row, saving a break point in the final game to retain this clean sheet.
The entire encounter lasted just under an hour-and-a-three-quarters.
Pliškova served up 17 aces through the match and committed six double faults. For Kanepi, the respective figures were four and seven. Meanwhile the Czech realized six out of eight break points, while Kanepi failed to convert any of the eight she played.
In set one, Kanepi had a success rate of 73 percent on her first serve and won 80 percent of her points on her first serve.
However, in the second set this fell to 40 percent and 25 percent respectively, and in set three was still only at 43 percent and 56 percent.
Kanepi is due to play next at Eastbourne, the women's tournament, which along with the men's Queen's Club tournament, heralds the Grand Slam event in SW19.
Estonia's top player and world number two Anett Kontaveit is not competing in Berlin, and is still recovering after a recent bout with Covid.
Editor: Andrew Whyte