Anett Kontaveit, Estonia's former top tennis player and some-time world number two, has made a good start to her campaign at the Luxembourg Ladies Tennis Masters, beating 2016 Olympic champion Monica Puig (Puerto Rico) in straight sets, 6:4, 6:4.
The tournament is an invitation-only affair and has featured such blast-from-the-past names as Kim Clijsters (Belgium) and Daniela Hantuchova (Czech Republic).
Following the match, Kontaveit said of her first high-level game in months that: "It felt a little strange. It took me some time to get used to being on-court. The match was very hard, and physically extremely demanding."
As for her tactics, she said: "I tried to play as aggressively as I could, as I didn't want to let the rallies go on for too long. At the same time, I held back so as to avoid unforced errors."
Kontaveit started off the first set at the Coque Luxembourg – Kirchberg well, taking a 2-1 lead with a break after the third game and then holding her serve in the next. However, Puig soon drew level to 3:3.
Breaking again in the 10th game was sufficient for Kontaveit to take the set 6:4.
The second set saw Kontaveit break again in game three, and game five, after having her own service broken in game four. The pace was dictated by the Estonian, however, who took the set 6:4 again, and thus the match.
The Estonian faces former world number five, and doubles world number one, Lucie Šafarova (Czech Republic) in the next round, the semi-finals in fact.
Kontaveit ranked as high as number two in the world in summer 2022, but found herself dogged with injury thereafter, announcing her retirement from top-flight tennis just before the Wimbledon Championships this year.
She is due to play a testimonial game in her home town of Tallinn in November, against world number seven Ons Jabeur (Tunisia).
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Henrik Laever