Kontaveit bests Pliskova to reach semifinals at WTA Finals

Anett Kontaveit remains to be unstoppable down the stretch of 2021. The No.8-seeded Estonian defeated No.3 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-0 on the Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara, her twelfth straight win.

Kontaveit turned the primary participant within the Guadalajara area to qualify for the semifinals together with her straight-sets victory. She is assured to complete within the high two of the Teotihuacán round-robin group.

Streaks at play: Kontaveit got here into this match driving a career-best 11-match successful streak, which included title runs at Moscow and Cluj-Napoca, in addition to a victory in her first round-robin match this week over reigning Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova. 

Nevertheless, Pliskova got here in with a 3-0 head-to-head file in opposition to Kontaveit, so one thing needed to yield.

Because it has been for a lot of the tail finish of this yr, Kontaveit had the final phrase, beating Pliskova for the primary time in 4 conferences. Kontaveit is now 28-2 throughout her ultimate eight tournaments of this season, and she or he owns a tour-leading 38 match-wins on hardcourts this yr.

Stat nook: It took Kontaveit solely 57 minutes to gather her second win of the week and seal a spot within the semifinals, in her WTA Finals debut. Kontaveit gained 24 of her 29 first-service factors (83 %) and fired six aces to storm to victory.

Pliskova, who’s making her fifth straight look on the WTA Finals, was unable to transform any of her three break factors (which all got here in a single sport). The Czech leads the tour in aces this season, however she had solely 4 on this match and gained simply 63 % of her first-service factors.

Phrases from the winner: “After all, very thrilled to be within the semifinals,” Kontaveit mentioned in her post-match press convention. “I assumed I performed an excellent match. I believe it was essential for me to be as constant as doable. Took a while to get used to her serves. I felt like my sport was getting higher and higher because the match went on.

“I believe I wasn’t serious about the truth that I used to be 3-0 down in earlier matches [against Pliskova]. I believe each time you step on the courtroom, you could have a brand new alternative. The earlier matches do not actually matter. It is a new day and you need to beat the participant you are enjoying in opposition to. That is how I strategy the match.

“I believe it is simply actually trusting my pictures just a little bit extra, simply going for it, however going for it with margins. I believe that is been essential, to not go for an excessive amount of, however nonetheless keep aggressive and be in cost at any time when doable. When it isn’t doable, simply keep within the rallies, be as constant as doable.”

Key moments: Kontaveit was the primary participant at risk on serve, as she confronted three break factors at 1-1. Nevertheless, the Estonian continued to play her finest tennis together with her again in opposition to the wall, powering her means out of bother to remain on serve.

With that peril behind her, Kontaveit zipped by way of her subsequent few service video games to steer 5-4. She then used blistering backhands to garner her first break level of the day, which doubled as set level. There, Kontaveit prevailed in a stirring rally, ending it with a putaway within the forecourt to assert the one-set lead.

Kontaveit had been 40-2 in matches this yr when she gained the primary set, and that sample endured with ease in Guadalajara as she dominated the second set. She struck an ace to seize the opening sport of the set, and she or he adopted with a break within the subsequent sport by way of a forehand winner.

All advised, Kontaveit ran away with the final eight video games to gather a dominant victory and guide her spot within the semifinals of the year-ending championships.

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