Kontaveit upsets Bencic; Home favorite Kvitova advances to Ostrava semi-finals
Estonian Anett Kontaveit beat No.3 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland in the quarter-finals of the J&T Banka Ostrava Open on Friday, setting up a semi-final showdown with crowd favorite Petra Kvitova.
World No.30 Kontaveit sent Olympic champion Bencic, 6-4, 6-3 in just 74 minutes to secure her place in the semi-final. Kontaveit is now 2-0 against Bencic, having also beaten the Swiss in the third round of the Australian Open last year.
Statistics Corner: The victory over 11th Bencic is Kontaveit’s fourth over a Top 20 player this season. Kontaveit, who won his second career WTA singles title in Cleveland just before the US Open, is one win away from reaching his fourth singles final in 2021.
Kontaveit played the most aggressive and cleanest game on Friday, with 29 winners for just 19 unforced errors. Bencic, on the other hand, had 12 winners at 18 unforced errors. Kontaveit won more than half the points rendering Bencic’s serve, which allowed him to convert five of his eight break points.
Key moments: Kontaveit worked his way to a 5-1 lead in the first stanza and scored a set point in that game. But Bencic pulled off a touching comeback, sacking a winner to save that setpoint and also saving another setpoint at 5-3.
Bencic eventually recovered both breaks to return to serve at 5-4. However, Kontaveit attacked again in the next game, using outrageous returns to hit the triple set point and converting the top of that line.
After an early exchange of breaks in the second set, Kontaveit took matters into their own hands as they slammed a backhand winner down the line to break for 4-2. A 5-2 love hold brought her one step closer and Kontaveit concluded the game two games later with a cross backhand winner.
Earlier, No. 2 seed Kvitova of the Czech Republic ousted rising Swiss Jil Teichmann, 6-4, 6-4, to advance to the home semifinals.
World No.42 Teichmann has already beaten her Top 20 opponents six times this year as she climbs the rankings. The first of those wins came from fellow southpaw Kvitova in Dubai via his retirement, which was the only previous meeting between the two.
However, world No.10 Kvitova was able to get revenge on Friday in front of a crowd of excited compatriots, as she took the win in an hour and 36 minutes. Kvitova, who won her 28th career WTA singles title earlier this season in Doha, is in her third semi-final of the year.
Kvitova’s 24 winners in the game were more than double Teichmann’s 11, and the Czech came out on top with her back against the wall, saving seven of the eight break points she faced that day.
After fending off four of those break points at 2-1, Kvitova managed the remainder of the first set until her first chances on Teichmann’s serve were 4-4. There, the home favorite attacked with powerful play and landed the break after a long stealing forehand from Teichmann. Serving the set at 5-4, Kvitova used her trusty forehand to reach the triple set, then reached the one-set lead by forcing an error from that wing.
Stronger forehands gave Kvitova a 2-0 lead early in the second set, but Teichmann was not yet finished, collecting his only break of the day to immediately return to serve. But Kvitova proved her mastery on both sides at 2-2, when she used a series of sloping backhands to win another serve break.
The Czech saved several break points to get out of harm’s way and consolidate for 4-2, then moved on to 5-4, where she served for the game. A backhand winner gave Kvitova a triple set point, and although she missed the first with a double fault, she converted the second with a last unrecoverable serve.