Saturday, August 8, 2020

Kontaveit beats top seed Martic to reach Palermo final

   Other than a late hiccup, Anett Kontaveit had little trouble ousting the top seed today in the Palermo Ladies Open.
   The fourth-seeded Kontaveit beat Petra Martic 6-2, 6-4 today to reach the final of the first WTA or ATP tournament since the tours shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
   Kontaveit, a 24-year-old Estonian, is scheduled to play unseeded Fiona Ferro of France in the clay-court tourney. Ferro, 23, overcame a horrid start to outlast unseeded Camila Giorgi of Italy 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 in their first career meeting. Giorgi, who saved two match points in her quarterfinal victory over seventh-seeded Dayana Yastremska, won the first five games against Ferro.
   Kontaveit, who had her left thigh taped after the first set, broke serve to lead 3-1 in the second set and served for the match at 5-3 but was broken at 15.
   After Martic, a 29-year-old Croat ranked No. 15, took a medical timeout off the court for a right thigh injury, Kontaveit broke at love to even her record against Martic at 1-1. Martic won 7-6 (4), 6-1 on a hardcourt in Dubai in February.
   After returning the favor, Kontaveit said she did not expect to win so comfortably.
   "No, not at all," said Kontaveit, who will improve at least two spots to No. 20, down from a career-high No. 14 in April 2019. "Petra's a really great player. It was 6-2, 6-4, but there (were a lot of good points), and I really had to play my best tennis to come out on top today."
   Ferro broke serve on Giorgi's netted forehand to lead 2-1 in the third set and served for the match at 5-4.
   The 28-year-old Giorgi, the top-ranked Italian at No. 89, then broke on a deep forehand winner, but Ferro broke back on Giorgi's long forehand for 6-5. This time, Ferro held with a service winner for the match. She will rise at least six places to No. 47, cracking the top 50 for the first time.
   Three of the four Palermo semifinalists have reached one Grand Slam quarterfinal: Kontaveit (2020 Australian Open), Martic (2019 French Open) and Giorgi (2018 Wimbledon). Ferro's best Grand Slam result is the third round of last year's U.S. Open.
   Kontaveit and Ferro will meet for the second time on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. PDT (Tennis Channel). Kontaveit won 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-2 in the second round of a $100,000 ITF hardcourt tournament in Poitiers, France, in 2016.
   Both Kontaveit and Ferro seek their second WTA singles title. Kontaveit, who's 1-4 in WTA finals, won 's-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands) on grass in 2017. Ferro won Lausanne on clay in July 2019, beating countrywoman Alize Cornet, in her only previous WTA final.  
   In a doubles semifinal today, unseeded Italians Elisabetta Cocciaretto, 19, and Martina Trevisan, a 5-foot-3 (1.60-meter) left-hander, beat fourth-seeded Bibiane Schoofs and Rosalie Van Der Hoek of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-3. 
   Cocciaretto and Trevisan will face unseeded Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands and Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia for the title on Sunday.

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