WTA Finals, Guadalajara, Mexico: Kicking off her WTA Finals journey with a win against the No. 2 seed Barbora Krejcikova, Anett Kontaveit beats Karolina Pliskova to guarantee a spot in the semifinals.
Playing a bit too strong as a No. 8 seed, the Estonian wins her 12th match 6-4, 6-0 against Former World No. 1. She became the first player to qualify for the knockouts with a guarantee to finish top two in the Teotihuacán round-robin group.
The battle lasted for only 57 minutes. Kontaveit collected 24 of her 29 first-service points and bombarded six aces. The service game for the Czech is an advantage over the majority of the players. But, here Kontaveit defended her nicely only allowing 63% of the first-serve points to her opponent. In the other group, Paula Badosa upsets No. 1 seed Aryna Sabalenka to join Maria Sakkari at the group top position.
Pliskova went out all guns blazing pressuring the Estonian with three break points at 1-1. However, Anett was prepared for it while playing her best tennis. Escaping herself from the tricky situation, Kontaveit stayed on serve.
The set continued with both players winning their respective service games. It was basically nothing till then to separate them. The Estonian holding her serve was leading the set 5-4.
Anett Kontaveit saw her first breakpoint which was doubled as the set point. Battling hard, both players emerged in a stirring rally. However, the recent Moscow and Cluj-Napoca winner ended it with a putaway in the forecourt to pocket the first set.
The fact that when Kontaveit is dangerous when she wins the first set, with a marvelous record of 40-2. The Estonian continued this pattern to dominate the second set completely. She struck an ace to grab the opening game of the set, and she followed with a break in the next game via a forehand winner.
All told, Kontaveit ran away with the last eight games to collect a dominant victory and book her spot in the semifinals of the year-ending championships.
Anett Kontaveit: “Of course, very thrilled to be in the semifinals,” Kontaveit said in her post-match press conference. “I thought I played a very good match. I think it was very important for me to be as consistent as possible. Took some time to get used to her serves. I felt like my game was getting better and better as the match went on.
“I think I wasn’t thinking about the fact that I was 3-0 down in previous matches [against Pliskova]. I think every time you step on the court, you have a new opportunity. The previous matches don’t really matter. It’s a new day and you have to beat the player you’re playing against. That’s how I approach the match.
“I think it’s just really trusting my shots a little bit more, just going for it, but going for it with margins. I think that’s been very important, not to go for too much, but still stay aggressive and be in charge whenever possible. When it’s not possible, just stay in the rallies, be as consistent as possible.”