Before this tournament, Anett Kontaveit had never won a main draw match at a Grand Slam. The Estonian player has had a super tournament so far by reaching the second week of the US Open and setting up a fourth round clash with Venus Williams. Kontaveit will be a new name to many; the 19 year old had a promising juniors career, reaching the final of the girls singles in 2012. Her best result on the WTA tour prior to the US Open was a three set victory over the then, world number 21, Alizé Cornet in Bastad last year. Kontaveit had won just one WTA main draw match this year (in Baku) although she has played most of the year on the ITF circuit where she has one title to her name, prevailing at the $50k event in Eastbourne. Kontaveit has also reached five semi-finals this year at ITF level. By virtue of her results this week in New York, Kontaveit will crack the world’s top 100.
I remember watching Kontaveit last year on the outside courts at Wimbledon after she qualified for the main draw. In a tight first round match, Kontaveit missed a match point against Casey Dellacqua (see photos HERE). Kontaveit played well but just couldn’t get across the finish line with Dellacqua digging in when it really mattered. Kontaveit gained revenge for that loss at Wimbledon by defeating Casey Dellacqua, 7-5 6-2 in the first round. Her best win of the week came in the second round against a very passive, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 7-5 6-4. In the third round, Kontaveit overcame a mid-match blip to take out Madison Brengle, 6-2 3-6 6-0.
Venus Williams produced another superb display against Belinda Bencic, coming from *1-4 down in the second set to win the last the five games of the match and prevail, 6-3 6-4. It was Venus’s fourth consecutive straight sets victory over Bencic. The American player was sharp throughout, overcoming a ten minute spell of error-strewn play in the second set. Her serve was on it as she clinched the match with her fifth ace. Bencic could have played better at the end of the second set and had a game point at 4-4. However, once again Venus was able to assert her dominance in this match-up. For a full recap of Venus-Belinda, click HERE.
Kontaveit faces a tough ask to go deeper in the draw as she takes on Williams for the first time in her career. The Estonian player can take heart from the fact Venus didn’t have it all her own way in the first two rounds against Monica Puig and Irina Falconi where she was forced to three sets. I’m going for Venus though to progress in straight sets.
Prediction: V.Williams d. Kontaveit in 2 sets