World tennis women's number two Anett Kontaveit is through to round two of the US Open after beating Jaqueline Cristiani of Romania in straight sets, 6:3, 6:0, in blustery conditions at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Cristiani, ranked 77th in the world, was back from a six-month absence due to injury, but nearly broke Kontaveit's serve in the opening game, until the Estonian held on, soon taking things to 3:1 in games. While the Romanian did in fact then break, and held her own serve, to go to 3:3, these were the last games she won as the Estonian strung together nine game victories in-a-row to take both sets and the match.
The entire encounter lasted one hour and six minutes; Kontaveit served up three aces and committed six double faults, compared with six double faults for her opponent.
Kontaveit in fact committed more unforced errors (20) than Cristiani (18).
"First round matches are always difficult, I'm glad I got through," Kontaveit said at the post-match press conference.
Noting the conditions, she added: "In the first set, I had difficulties with my serve, because of the wind, while it started to get darker outside, but once I got used to it, I played very well," adding that the wind abated somewhat as the match progressed.
Kontaveit next faces tennis legend Serena Williams, playing in her swansong tournament, which she has won six times in the past. Williams also won her round one fixture in straight sets, 6:3, 6:3, against Danka Kovinic (WTA 80) of Montenegro.
Looking forward to the encounter, Kontaveit said: "I'm very excited! I was really hoping she would win, I've never played against her before, and this is my last chance! Better late than never!"
"I believe the atmosphere will be great and I'm really looking forward to it. It's one of the few games where I won't have any pressure: I can just enjoy it and play as well as I can. I'm fighting for every point and I'm enjoying the atmosphere, playing the best ever against. It's a brilliant opportunity."
Of Williams, whose career grand slam victories total 23, Kontaveit said that: "She hits very hard and is able to send the ball to every corner of the court, so I have to be ready for that. I have to play consistently, fight hard and that's how I will approach this game."
This article was updated to include quotes from Anett Kontaveit.
Editor: Andrew Whyte