Kontaveit crushes Kvitova in Ostrava to set up Sakkari final

By Sports Desk September 25, 2021

Anett Kontaveit made home hope Petra Kvitova her latest Ostrava Open scalp as there were upsets in both semi-finals on Saturday. 

Kontaveit faced second seed Kvitova having previously toppled Paula Badosa and Belinda Bencic in straight sets. 

Her last-four victory was even more comprehensive, as Kvitova went down 6-0 6-4 in 71 minutes. 

Kontaveit advances to her fourth final of 2021 and avoids facing Iga Swiatek, who defeated her at the US Open – her only loss since winning the Tennis in the Land title last month. 

But the Estonian must take on the woman who knocked her out of the Olympic Games in Maria Sakkari. 

Number four seed Sakkari took down top seed Swiatek 6-4 7-5 to make her first WTA Tour final since 2019. 

Sakkari had lost nine consecutive semi-finals since then, while Swiatek had never lost at this stage of a tour-level event, but the Greek was a deserving victor. 

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    Petra Kvitova was convincingly beaten to bow out of the Australian Open in straight sets in the first round on Tuesday.

    The Czech 20th seed, a finalist in Melbourne in 2019, was crushed 6-2 6-2 by Romanian Sorana Cirstea on John Cain Arena.

    Kvitova produced a staggering 39 unforced errors with just seven winners to bow out in 71 minutes.

    It continued a mixed record at Melbourne Park for the two-time Wimbledon champion.

    Kvitova has now bowed out of a grand slam in the first round 11 times – with four of those coming at the Australian Open.

    Cirstea will face either Misaki Doi or Kristina Kucova in this year's second round.

    The 31-year-old also beat Kvitova at the Australian Open last year – in the second round.

  • Australian Open: Gauff disappointed by 'everything' in early exit while Keys upsets Kenin Australian Open: Gauff disappointed by 'everything' in early exit while Keys upsets Kenin

    Coco Gauff reflected on a hugely disappointing Australian Open defeat as the two leading United States players exited the women's draw on day one in Melbourne.

    Gauff is ranked 16th, closing on top American Sofia Kenin in 13th, but neither advanced to the second round on Monday.

    The 17-year-old was stunned 6-4 6-2 by Wang Qiang in a sloppy display that included 38 unforced errors, with 21 in a second set in which she fell 5-0 behind.

    Meanwhile, Kenin was beaten by compatriot Madison Keys, who came into the tournament in high spirits having won her sixth career title – and first since 2019 – at the Adelaide International 2. That run included a semi-final defeat of Gauff.

    After her latest loss, Gauff said: "I think just everything disappointed me about today.

    "I feel like in the pre-season I worked really hard, and I felt like I was ready to have a good run here. Today I just didn't perform well.

    "I think there's a lot to learn from. I think I was playing a little bit tighter than normal.

    "So I think next time coming into the first round of a slam, especially after a tough week before, I think I need to just play more free and focus on the moment."

    Keys is playing with that freedom, eager to move on from a dismal 2021 in which she won only 11 matches.

    "I'm not taking it quite as seriously, that's the biggest difference this year," she said.

    Keys already has seven wins in eight matches in 2022, defeating fellow Americans in each of her past three outings.

    Of the win over 2020 champion Kenin, she said: "At this point every first round is tough, but when you have to go up against a grand slam champion it's never easy.

    "I think knowing that she was going to compete so well, I just had a really good mentality and attitude. I had a couple of opportunities I didn't really capitalise upon and I was able to reset and continue to play well.

    "I had my first real run in a slam here, I missed last year, so absolutely ecstatic to be back in Melbourne. It would mean the world to have another run here."

  • Djokovic could miss second Grand Slam after French vaccination law is passed Djokovic could miss second Grand Slam after French vaccination law is passed

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    The 34-year-old will not defend his Australian Open title, with a drawn-out saga concerning his vaccination status culminating in his visa being cancelled for a second time after an intervention from Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke.

    But the controversy surrounding the 20-time Grand Slam winner could be set to continue, with French parliament passing stringent vaccination laws ahead of May's French Open.

    After French lawmakers comfortably passed the new measures, proof of vaccination status will soon be required to enter a wide variety of public places, including sports stadiums, and the country's sports ministry says there will be no exemptions for professional athletes. 

    "The rule is simple. The vaccine pass will be imposed, as soon as the law is promulgated, in establishments that were already subject to the health pass," the ministry said.

    "This will apply to everyone who is a spectator or a professional sportsperson, and until further notice.

    "Now, as far as Roland Garros is concerned, it is in May. The situation may change between now and then, and we hope that it will be more favourable. 

    "So, we'll see, but clearly, there's no exemption."

     

    Djokovic, who is tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for all-time Slam wins in the men's game, has come in for widespread criticism regarding his failure to be vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as for appearing in public in the days after testing positive for the virus last month.

    Meanwhile, Djokovic has arrived back in his native Serbia, travelling via Dubai from Melbourne to Belgrade after losing a last-ditch court appeal to remain in the country.

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