Kontaveit crashes out of Wimbledon in round two

Anett Kontaveit.
Anett Kontaveit. Source: SCANPIX/EPA

Anett Kontaveit went out of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in straight sets 6:4, 6:0, losing to relative unknown Jule Niemeier (Germany) in a game which lasted barely an hour on Court Number One. Both of Estonia's representatives are out of the tournament's women's singles, after Kaia Kanepi lost her round one fixture on Monday, and Kanepi is out of the women's doubles as well.

Kontaveit was second seed in the singles and had beaten U.S. player Bernarda Pera in straight sets in round one.

However, the game was her first competitive outing since the French Open in May, where she underperformed after a bout with Covid. Kontaveit also obtained a new coach just ahead of Wimbledon, Torben Beltz, to replace Dmitry Tursunov, with whom she had had a strong run of success in the second half of 2021. Tursunov as a Russian citizen was unable to travel to many of Kontaveit's competition's, including Wimbledon.

Niemeier, 22, was playing in only her second grand slam tournament in her career; her first was in France last month, for which she had had to qualify.

She beat Wang Wiyu (China) 6:1, 6:4 in round one, though had never met a top player before – Kontaveit is currently ranked third in the world – and had only played six top 40 players in her competitive career, losing to all of them.

The first set started well for Kontaveit when serving, but her opponent kept the pressure up and things were soon 2:2 in games, after which Neimeier broke to take the lead 3:2. She maintained that gap in games until taking the set 6:4.

The German built on her confidence in set two, while Kontaveit made mistake after mistake, dropping her serve with two consecutive double faults in game one and never really recovering, hitting multiple shots into the net or out, and not picking up a single game.

"To be honest, I'm speechless," Niemeier said post-match. "It was one of the best games I've played."

Kontaveit said later that she had been keen to get back into playing after being unwell in late April and had been training hard. This had proven to be a mistake, she added, noting that she should have given herself more time to recover and pinpointing the Rome tournament in early May and the Roland Garros later that month as being, for her, accompanied by low energy, including off-court, when she struggled to wake up sometimes.

. "I was getting tired more and more. I decided to take a few weeks off completely and my energy started to recover," she added, saying she had restarted training, initially at the gym, but was only able to practice from a week before Wimbledon – she missed the Eastbourne tournament where she had been a finalist last year – and so had not got to the required level of fitness despite being seeded.

In the match with Niemeier, Kontaveit committed four double faults compared with two for her opponent, who also pulled off two aces. Niemeier won 79 percent of her first service points to Kontaveit's 57 percent, while the figures for second service points won were 68 percent and 50 percent for the Estonian and the German respectively.

Niemeier realized all four of the breakpoints presented to her, including the winner, while Kontaveit did not get to breakpoint stage at any point.

Neimeier will face a Ukrainian player either way in round three, the winner of Anhelina Kalinina (34th in the world) and Lesia Tsurenko (WTA 101st).

Kontaveit is still in the women's doubles competition at Wimbledon, with her partner, Shelby Rogers (U.S.), though Kanepi is out in that category too, after she and partner Renata Voracova (Czech Republic) lost their round one match against local British pair, Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls, in three sets, 6:1, 4:6, 6:2.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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