Kontaveit ousts Sharapova in Monday evening epic

Tuesday, Aug 6

Anett put the Konta- surname on the board this evening.

Although Johanna Konta (unrelated) fell in straight sets to Dayana Yastremska to kick off the day’s action, Anett Kontaveit would restore honour to those first five letters, downing five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova in a first-round thriller under the lights of the Aviva Centre on Monday night.

The first set was wobbly from both, as Sharapova, playing for the first time since a shock injury retirement in the first round of Wimbledon, struggled to find her range on her serve, while Kontaveit’s metronomic power-hitting lacked early calibration. However, it was vintage ball-striking from the Russian that would ultimately turn the tide in her favour, as she blasted her way to claiming the first set 6-4.

Monday, August 5, 2019 – Maria Sharapova plays Anett Kontaveit in Round 1 of Rogers Cup presented by National Bank at the Aviva Centre in Toronto, Ontario. (Peter Power/Tennis Canada)

Up a break in the second set, Sharapova seemed primed for a straight-sets win as Kontaveit – playing better now but unable to cope with her unseeded opponent’s depth – began to aim for bigger targets and play with greater margin on her forehands. This seemed to do the trick for the Estonian, who found enough rhythm in her game to break Sharapova’s.

And in a flash, the score was even at a set apiece.

The third set was played on a razor’s edge, with both players serving exceptionally well. It would ultimately boil down to a 24-point game at 4-4, which saw Sharapova miss out on multiple game points before Kontaveit would pounce on her third opportunity to break. Unwilling to relent from the baseline as she served for the match, the World No. 19 closed it out on one final Sharapova groundstroke long, raising her fists in the air in triumph after a two-hour, 43-minute night session well-worthy of opening night at Rogers Cup presented by National Bank.

Up next for Kontaveit is the winner of tomorrow’s first-round clash between Venus Williams and Carla Suarez Navarro.

Photo: Jared Wickerham/Tennis Canada

But the night’s action wasn’t done there. Angelique Kerber and Daria Kastakina took to the court not long after Kontaveit’s victory, and the former came firing out of the gates, claiming the first set 6-0 in the blink of an eye. Kasatkina, who has struggled in form this year following a breakthrough 2018, would wrestle control of the second set, however, and take proceedings to a third.

The final set featured top-shelf tennis, with both players grinding out rallies and looking to end points with decisive forehands. Ultimately, it was the craft and court-sense of Kasatkina, and she was rewarded for her industrious fight – a 0-6, 6-2, 6-4 win just after midnight.

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