Berliner TageBlatt - Kontaveit defies nerves to showcase Melbourne title credentials

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Kontaveit defies nerves to showcase Melbourne title credentials
Kontaveit defies nerves to showcase Melbourne title credentials / Foto: © AFP

Kontaveit defies nerves to showcase Melbourne title credentials

Anett Kontaveit began her tilt at a maiden Grand Slam title with a 6-2, 6-3 victory at the Australian Open on Tuesday as she looks to build on a breakout 2021.

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The Estonian sixth seed proved too hot for Czech doubles specialist Katerina Siniakova, blitzing past her in 81 minutes, smacking 26 winners.

She will meet either Australian Astra Sharma or Denmark's Clara Tauson in round two.

The 25-year-old Kontaveit is shaping up as a serious contender at Melbourne Park after her electric form in the second half of last season.

It saw her capture four titles in two months before ending runner-up at the WTA Finals to Garbine Muguruza.

"I think first round is always a little bit nervous. But I think I was getting better as the match went on and then playing a solid match," said Kontaveit.

"Of course every time I step on the court I want to win. I want to go deep in the Slams."

Kontaveit reached the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park in 2020, her best showing so far at a Grand Slam, but she is not getting carried her away by her sizzling form.

"Every match is a new challenge and I want to take it really step by step and not think ahead too much," said the world number seven.

"I think everybody here is going to be tough. I think it's important for me to focus on what I'm doing and I'm really looking forward to another challenge."

Kontaveit had won her last three encounters with Siniakova, including during title runs last year at Cleveland and Moscow, and after early nerves quickly took charge.

They exchanged breaks in the first set before Kontaveit reeled off four games in a row, showcasing the powerful groundstrokes that have propelled her into the top 10.

But the 48th-ranked Czech, runner-up in the Australian Open doubles last year with Barbora Krejcikova, wasn't ready to give up and a wide Kontaveit forehand earned her a break to go 2-1 up in the second.

It turned out to be a blip, with the Estonian immediately breaking back twice as she drew errors from her exasperated opponent and raced to victory.

J.Bergmann--BTB