London | WTA Roundup – Kontaveit and Kanepi prosper in Tallinn, as Sakkari toils in Parma

Tallinn | WTA 250 Tallinn Open

Home favourites Anett Kontaveit and Kaia Kanepi led the charge into the quarter-finals at the inaugural Tallinn Open on Thursday, defeating Tereza Martincova and Ann Li respectively, while seeds Belinda Bencic, Beatriz Haddad Maia and Barbora Krejcikova also made it into the Last 8 where they were joined by Donna Vekic, Karolina Muchova and Ysaline Bonaventure in the line-up.

I'm happy that I won. I felt a little bit nervous at the start of the match, but I warmed up in the middle of the second set, and then the feeling on the court was much better. Kaia Kanepi

Kontaveit, the No 1 seed, who turned in a flawless performance to defeat Martincova in the 2nd-round in Estonia, firing 37 winners to extend her winning streak on indoor hard courts to 22 matches, is relishing being able to stay at home.

“I generally like a different rhythm,” she said after confortably beating Martincova, 6-2 6-1. “For me, sitting in a hotel is quite boring but, here, I have so many more options. Whether it’s planting roses with my father in the morning or whatever… doing activities that stimulate the brain. I feel that this brings me extra energy.

“Certainly, given the crowd, and playing in front of these people, I don’t feel so much pressure.

“This impacts me as a form of positive energy on court. I feel that I am cheerful and in a very good mood all the time,” the 26-year-old World No 4 added.

Kontaveit broke Martincova, ranked 75, immediately, only to lose her own serve before stringing together 4 games in-a-row to go up 5-1, and while at 5-2 she saved 2 break points, the Estonian served out it out on her 2nd set point.

The second started in a similar fashion, with Kontaveit breaking, then broken, and breaking the Czech again wrapping up the match without further loss in over an hour.

The top seed committed 2 double-faults, to Martincova’s 1, and both fired just a single ace, with the Estonian winning 60 of the points played to the Czech’s 38, and converting 7 of break points she faced.

Kontaveit next faces Bonaventure, the Belgian World No 138, who pulled off a shock win over Jill Teichmann, the 9th seed who is ranked 36, 7-6(8) 6-3.

Kaia Kanepi is now the Estonian No 2 who is looking to a possible semi-final contest with Kontaveit, the No 1, in Tallinn in front of home fans

The winner of the quarter-final contest could meet Kanepi, Estonia’s veteran star, who defeated American Li earlier in the day, 7-5 7-5, and faces another Czech in Muchova, a 4-6 6-0 6-2 winner over another Swiss, Viktorija Golubic.

Home hope Kanepi came through the 2 tight sets to make her 3rd tour-level Last 8 run of 2022, following the Australian Open and Washington.

After the match, which took an hour and 40 minutes, Kanepi thanked the home crowd for their support.

“I’m happy that I won,” she said. “I felt a little bit nervous at the start of the match, but I warmed up in the middle of the second set, and then the feeling on the court was much better.”

Meanwhile, Vekic, who hails from Croatia, upset China’s Zhang Shuai, the 8th seed, 6-2 6-4, to line up a Last 8 encounter with 2nd-seeded Bencic.

Danka Kovinic showed off her full repertoire as she defeated Jasmine Paolini at the Parma Ladies Open to reach her first tour-level semi-final since Charleston 2021.

Parma | WTA 250 Parma Ladies Open

For the third match in a row, top seed Maria Sakkari from Greece had to come from a set down to beat Belgian Maryna Zanevska, 2-6 6-4 6-4, to reach the Parma Ladies Open semi-finals on Thursday in Italy, where she will take on Danka Kovinic from Montenegro, who was a 6-4 6-4 winner over home favourite Jasmine Paolini.

Once again, Sakkari started off slowly and needed time to get herself into the swing of things, complicating the match despite dominating much of the proceedings, and having to save 7 of 13 break points she faced in the 2 hour, 22 minute contest.

Thursday’s other quarter-final winners were No 6 seed Ana Bogdan of Romania, who took out her compatriot Irina-Camila Begu, the 3rd-seed, 6-2 7-6(6), and Egypt’s Mayar Sherif, a 7-6(2) 6-3 winner over American Lauren Davis.

Top seed Maria Sakkari dropped a set for the 3rd match in a row in Parma, and meets Danka Kovinic in the semi-final on Friday



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