WTA Finals 2021, Guadalajara, Mexico: Anett Kontaveit ended her winning streak with a loss against Gabrine Muguruza, but bounced back against the Greek to again face Muguruza in the finale.
The Estonian is perfect this season in the semifinals 7-0 and on the verge of a third consecutive title and a total of seventh title overall. If she managed to lift the title she will move to No. 6 in the World rankings.
“I still can’t quite believe that I’m even here and I’m playing against the best players at such a prestigious tournament,” Kontaveit said. “I’m just so proud of myself that I managed to do this and so happy to be competing at this level and just trying to take it all in.”
Striking 32 winners, Kontaveit stands at winning 29 matches out of the last 32 matches. Her opponent played well but had only 17 winners. She stands joined first with Ons Jabeur with most wins this season 48-16.
Meanwhile, Sakkari has been disappointing in the semifinals this season with a record of 1-7.
Anett Kontaveit was serving 92.9% in her game against the Spaniard in the round-robin match. She extends her serving game in the opening set too. Wrapping up the first set 6-1 without being broken even once and breaking the Greek twice which took just 27 minutes.
The second set was much more competitive. Sakkari denied being broken to stay level. Although she gained momentum, but could not make a move against Kontaveit’s massive serves.
Maria Sakkari saved breakpoints at 3-3 to hold the set 4-3. She improved her serves blasted six aces to meet a breakpoint. Converting the only breakpoint opportunity and then gathering her service game to stretch the game to the decider.
Sakkari struck first in the final set, breaking Kontaveit to lead 3-2, but the Estonian struck right back to break at love. That began a run of eight consecutive points after a love hold boosted Kontaveit to a 4-3 lead.
“I think the turning point in the third set maybe when I went a breakdown, 3-2, just managed to tell myself that if this is the last match of the season, then I might as well enjoy it,” Kontaveit said. “I feel like I got some freedom from that and just started playing better and managed to turn that set around.”
The Estonian at 4-3 came back from 40-0 to duece the game and also managed to break leading the set 5-3. Serving for the match was easy, with the service she was thundering all the way long, to clinch a rematch against Gabrine Muguruza in the WTA Finals finale.
Kontaveit on her self-belief: “I feel like the last few months have really showed me that I can play really well, I can beat great players consistently,” Kontaveit said. “I think I sort of have this self-belief now. When I came here, of course, I had nothing to lose. Every time I step on the court, I still think I can win the match, just do well.”
A tough loss to swallow for Sakkari: “Today was a missed opportunity from my side,” Sakkari said. “It’s definitely from my side. Obviously there’s a lot of respect from my side to Anett’s game. I think today I was just very close to taking that chance. I just wasted it.
“That’s why it hurts so much. It’s not that it was just bad luck, it’s that I threw away another chance. It hurts.”