Anett Kontaveit lost in the singles final at the inaugural Tallinn Open WTA250 event Sunday in two sets, 6:2, 6:3, to Czech player Barbora Krjecikova.
Kontaveit's path to the final, in front of a home crowd at the FORUS Tennis Center in Tondi, saw her beat Wang Xiyu (China), followed by another Czech player, Tereza Martincova and then Ysaline Bonaventure (Belgium), setting her up with an all-Estonian semi-final against Estonia's other star player, Kaia Kanepi, on Saturday. Kontaveit, ranked 4th in the world, overcame world number 32 Kanepi in the first WTA-level encounter the pair had ever had.
Kontaveit was also coming into the match off the back of a 24-game winning streak on hard courts.
Krejcikova had beaten Ajla Tomljanovic (Australia), Marta Kostyuk (Ukraine), Beatriz Haddad Maia (Brazil) and Belinda Bencic (Switzerland) en route to Sunday's final.
On the day, before a sell-out crowd which included President Alar Karis, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart, the Czech player proved the stronger of the two, going ahead 4:2 in set one after breaking the Estonian's serve, breaking once again and taking the set 6:2..
While Kontaveit broke Krejcikova's serve in game one of set two, she then lost two, drawn-out service games of her own and found herself 3:1 down in games, trailing 40:15 in the next game: while Kontaveit pulled back to take not only that game by the next, making things 3:3 in games, Krejicova went on a points spree, dropping only three points to Kontaveit in the next three games and taking them all, and with it set and match.
Kontaveit served up two aces and committed three double faults through the match, compared with Krejcikova's four aces and three double faults.
Kontaveit converted two out of five break points presented to her; Krejcikova five out of nine.
Post-match, the home player said: "It has been a great honor for me to play tennis in front of the President of Estonia, the President of the Estonian tennis association and the Mayor of Tallinn."
"Thank you very much for coming here. Congratulations are due to Barbora, you played perfectly and were just too good today," she went on.
"Naturally, I would like to thank the city of Tallinn, since without their support this tournament would not have taken place here. I am glad that the WTA tournament took place in our home town."
The result was Krejcikova's fourth career WTA tournament win, with the Czech saying after the match that: "I want to wish Anett the best of luck. I'm very sorry to have to be standing here now, but I really wanted to win this title," she joked.
"It's always tough to play at a final and thank you so much for making me play my very best tennis."
Meanwhile in the doubles finals, Ukrainian twins Ljudmła and Nadja Kitšenok came out top over Nicole Melichar-Martinez (US) and Laura Siegemund (Germany) 7:5, 4:6, 10:7.
Melichar-Martinez and Siegemund had earlier put out Kontaveit and Erin Routliffe (NZ), and pushed the Ukrainians to a tie-break in the deciding set, but the latter held on to win 10:7 and take the inaugural WTA250 Tallinn doubles title.
President of Estonia Alar Karis was unstinting in his praise of how well-run the tournament had been, telling commercial TV station TV3 (link in Estonian) that he was certain that the tournament would return to the Estonian capital.
When the announcement was made in May confirming Tallinn would be hosting its first-ever WTA-level competition, a provisional three-year deal was reportedly signed, with the event to be funded via a combination of state, Tallinn city government and private sector support.
Editor: Andrew Whyte