Anett Kontaveit returns to competitive tennis after injury break

Anett Kontaveit signing autographs in Portugal.
Anett Kontaveit signing autographs in Portugal. Source: SCANPIX/IMAGO/

The Estonian women's tennis team started the Billie Jean King Cup tournament, in Portugal, with a victory over South Africa.

Estonia, coached by Märten Tamla, is in Group B of the tournament, formerly known as the Fed Cup, along with Lithuania, Georgia, Ireland, Kosovo and South Africa. The top two from the subgroup will advance, and will play-off for promotion to the next division, while the bottom two teams will move down a division.

The competition features singles and doubles matches; in the singles, Elena Malõgina (WTA 374th) decisively defeated Suzanie Pretorius 6:1, 6:0, while Anett Kontaveit (WTA 69th), overcame Isabella Kruger ( WTA 36th.), also in straight sets, 6:1, 6:2.

The result was also significant because it is Kontaveit's first competitive match since early on in the year, when a back injury forced her to stop playing.

"There are always a few nerves in any first match after a long time out, but I think I did well," the former world number two said post-match.

"Perhaps at the end there was a moment where things were more fragile, but overall things were okay. There were definitely things that I would have liked to have done better, but now it is important to get back into the swing of the game and get used to competing again. I've had a break for several months mid-season, so cannot expect the ideal right away game. I'm glad that Estonia has won a solid victory, it's definitely a positive start for us," she continued.

Kontaveit had trained on clay in Marbella before the competition in Portugal, also played on clay.

Meanwhile in the doubles, Maileen Nuudi and Ingrid Neel – the latter an Estonian-American who only recently started playing for her ancestral country, also won.

Coach Tamla said: "Elena started a bit nervously and didn't find a good rhythm at the beginning of the game. But after the 1:1 scoreline, she was able to find her rhythm, raise her level and definitely swing the game in her favor."

"It was Anet's first match after the injury and she was also a bit nervous at the beginning, but she was also able to firmly assert her superiority. In the doubles match, Ingrid and Maileen were able to play without tension and played a very good game," Tamla went on.

They will certainly face a harder match against Kosovo on Tuesday," she added.

So far on Tuesday, Maileen Nuudi won decisively over 18-year-old Kosovan Vesa Gjinaij, 6:0, 6:1.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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