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Anett Kontaveit conquers Barbora Krejcikova in dominant WTA Finals debut
The Estonian No. 8 seed won an 11th straight match to take the early lead in round robin action.
Published Nov 10, 2021
WATCH: Playing Krejcikova for the first time, Kontaveit swept the Czech aside in under 90 minutes.
Ask Anett Kontaveit to take it outside at your own risk. After dominating the fall indoor swing to clinch a maiden WTA Finals berth, the on-fire Estonian hit through the elements to win an 11th straight match in a 6-3, 6-4 demolition of Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova.
“I’m definitely very happy to get the win today,” she said on court. “It was such a tough match and I really had to fight hard for it.”
The No. 8 seed took an early lead in the Teotihuacán round robin group after 75 minutes on Estadio Tennis Akron, considerably bolstering her chances of reaching the semifinals.
“The serve played a big part today, and my first serve definitely helped. I could have made a few more of those, but I was just trying to stay tough and getting as many balls back as I could.”
Kontaveit exited the BNP Paribas Open with only the slimmest chance of making it to Guadalajara, having lost in the quarterfinals to Ons Jabeur, the presumptive favorite for that No. 8 spot.
Undaunted, she returned to Europe with recent coaching hire Dmitry Tursunov and proceeded to blitz the fields in Moscow and Cluj Napoca, winning her fourth and fifth finals of the season while Jabeur nursed an elbow injury. Shocking the likes of Garbiñe Muguruza, Marketa Vondrousova, and Ekaterina Alexandrova to win the Kremlin Cup, she finally secured her bid with an emphatic victory over former nemesis Simona Halep in the final of the inaugural Transylvania Open.
“It’s really special to be here, and I’m really proud to have pulled this off. Now I’m just enjoying being here, enjoying Mexico, the food, and just being out on the court.”
The 25-year-old has shown no signs of fatigue through a headline-grabbing and career-revitalizing run, and effortlessly translated her tennis outdoors against Krejcikova, who is playing her first WTA Finals in singles.
A former doubles No. 1, Krejcikova has been one of the season’s biggest stories since capturing her maiden major title in Paris, maintaining that consistent level with second week appearances at Wimbledon and the US Open. Playing her first tournament since Indian Wells, the Czech was scratchier to start her first meeting with Kontaveit, striking 18 unforced errors in the first set alone.
Playing cleaner tennis off both wings, Kontaveit raced ahead 4-1 and held off a surge from Krejcikova to serve out the opening set and break to open the second.
She would end the match with a near even 17 winners to 16 unforced errors, and didn’t allow Krejcikova a single break point throughout thanks to eight aces. Match point saw Krejcikova attempt a move to net, only for her backhand slice to fail her on the approach.
Kontaveit will next face one of Muguruza or Karolina Pliskova, who face off in Wednesday’s night session. Pliskova won her most recent meeting with the Estonian in 2019, while Muguruza will aim to avenge the 6-1, 6-1 defeat she took to Kontaveit in Moscow.