Tallinn | WTA 250 Tallinn Open
Estonian fans are set for a treat as their two top players, Anett Kontaveit and Kaia Kanepi, will face each other in the semi-finals of the Tallinn Open after both came through their quarter-final matches in 3 sets against Ysaline Bonaventure and Karolina Muchova respectively on Friday.
"For me it's just like any other match. She's ten years younger than me, there's not really any question. Anett has a better record and she's ahead of me in the rankings. Kaia Kanepi
Kontaveit, the World No 4 and top seed here, got past Bonaventure from Belgium, 6-3 3- 6-3 in an hour and 53 minutes, while Kanepi, now ranked 32, edged past Muchova, 6-2 3-6 7-6(6) after a 2 hour 21 minute battle with the Czech wild-card, who is at No 224 in the rankings.
Kanepi got off to a flying start, taking the first set in just 31 minutes and, although the second also began well for the Estonian No 2, who broke in the first game, Muchova finally found her rhythm, breaking Kanepi twice to take the set and level proceedings.
There was nothing to separate the two in the deciding 3rd set, which, at 6-6, went to a tiebreak, in which Kanepi found an extra gear, jumping out to a 5-2 lead, before eventually claiming victory on her 3rd match point.
“I don’t feel tired at the moment,” Kanepi said at the post-match press conference. “I usually don’t feel it after a match.
“It was very even. In the end I tried to play with a lot of guts and, I succeeded, that’s why I won,”
Kanepi’s win sets up the all-Estonian semi-final on Saturday against Kontaveit, and was quick to play down her prospects in the match, pointing out that the top seed would be the favourite to make the final.
“For me it’s just like any other match,” 37-year old Kanepi said. “She’s ten years younger than me, there’s not really any question.
“Anett has a better record and she’s ahead of me in the rankings.”
Tickets for the WTA Tallinn 250 semi-final match between Estonia’s top two tennis players were already sold out.
In the lower half of the draw, 7th seeded Czech Barbora Krejcikova won 78.6 percent of her first-serve points as she knocked off 3rd seed Beatriz Haddad Maia from Brazil, 6-3 6-4, to reach the semi-final against Olympic champion Belinda Bencic, the 2nd seed from Switzerland.
Krejcikova broke Haddad Maia’s service 4 times during the 83-minute victory, while Bencic posted a 6-4 6-1 win over Donna Vekic of Croatia in 91 minutes.
Parma | WTA 250 Parma Ladies Open
Semi-final play in Italy was postponed until Saturday due to heavy rain, and will be contested on the same day as the championship match.
Top-seed Maria Sakkari, the World No 7 from Greece, will meet Danka Kovinic of Montenegro in one semi, and 6th-seeded Ana Bogdan of Romania will oppose Egypt’s Mayar Sherif in the other.
Meanwhile, Sakkari has spoken out against ‘Twitter journalists’, addressing criticism directed towards WTA players.
“WTA level is very high,” she said after her 3-set match on Thursday. “I disagree with Twitter journalists that have no life and just criticise players.
“You have to respect every singles player, because you don’t know what they are going through, you have to respect women tennis and players.”
Sakkari is finding her game in Parma after a disappointing summer run on hard courts, having risen to World No 2 following her runner-up showing at the WTA 1000 event in Indian Wells.
In August, she admitted her poor form was the result of expectations placed on her as a result.
“I just sat down with [Coach] Tom [Hill] for a lot of hours and just realised that I’m not enjoying being one of the best players in the world, which was something very tough to admit and very tough to handle,” Sakkari said. “But it’s the truth. It’s the reality.
“I think that the pressure and everything was something I had to deal with.”
This week in Parma, on the clay of Italy, has made it through to her first semi-final since June, when she reached the Last 4 in Berlin.
After going just 2 -4 during the North American hard court swing, Sakkari’s return to clay courts gives her the chance to win her first title of the season.