Anett Kontaveit overcame former world number one Maria Sharapova of Russia in a tense, nearly three-hour, three-setter at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Canada on Monday.
After losing the first set 6-4, Kontaveit, 23, from Tallinn, and ranked 19th in the world, drew things level in sets at 6-3, going into the final set on the outdoor hard-court at the Aviva Stadium.
The third set was incredibly close at 4-4, with the Estonian breaking Sharapova's serve in a ninth game which lasted 17 minutes and saw no less than nine deuces before she prevailed. With things at 5-4 and Kontaveit to serve, Sharapova, currently ranked 81st, did not give up, in her first game since dropping out of the first round of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in July, reaching 30-30, before succumbing. The whole game lasted two hours and 41 minutes.
Statistics reveal how on a knife edge the match was – Kontaveit only hit one more winner (26 to 25) and committed just a single forced error fewer (35 to 36) to her opponent, avenging the 2017 defeat by the Russian in Stuttgart, the only previous encounter between the pair.
"It was a super close match, and I really felt the support of the crowd in the third set and in the end," Kontaveit said after the match.
"In the first set, I felt like I had some opportunities and I just didn't use them," she continued.
"I think I started serving better in the second set and that definitely, definitely helped. You don't want to be hitting second serves against Maria," she added.
"I was just trying to take it point by point and not think about the score that much. It worked in the end!" Kontaveit said.
Kontaveit now faces either Carla Suárez (Spain) or Venus Williams (U.S.) in the next round of the Rogers Cup, also known as the Canadian Open, with Karolína Plíšková, who has won both her games against Kontaveit to date, most recently at Indian Wells in March, also in Kontaveit's half of the draw.
Editor: Andrew Whyte