Ekaterina Alexandrova was looking to win it for mother Russia against Ostrava winner Anett Kontaveit. Ekaterina had negotiated a tough side of the draw seeing off number one seed Sabalenka in the last eight as well as favorite Maria Sakkari who retired ill(dizzy spell I think she may be anemic ala Sampras, just speculating) in their semi. Kontaveit despatched olympic silver medallist Vondrousova in the last 4. As in the OSTRAVA final, Anett’s forehand was a joy to watch. Watch 1-1 first point. She isn’t a lazy handsy player. By that I mean she uses her body just as well as her hand and wrist to get the right forehand shot. Ekaterina was the first one to break in the set an advantage she held to take it 6-4. I like her shot variation, she doesn’t have a strong shot that is either forehand or backhand. Check out the confident hold at 4-3(40-0) showing she can do damage with either shot. The serve is the backbone of tennis as such a good strong first serve is essential. Ekaterina served at 65% but was slightly disappointing on second serve. Check out 5-4(40-15) set point. She favors the flat angled one not only placing the ball away from the opponent but placing it low enough to make the return tough.
Point of the match, second set first game 30-15. Both players putting on a groundstroking clinic. The point was so close that one error would inevitably be punished and Anett was the first to blink. Ekaterina was cruising in this match. She went up a break early in the second set but from 4-1 it came crushing down. Her confidence probably shot after losing that long deuce sixth game. Check out the break point at advantage Kontaveit. The serve couldn’t have been hit better but the return by Anett set up the point win, it was deep onto the baseline. Ekaterina lost her serve again at 4-3. Check out 40-30 as both again ground stroked each other to submission. That will be only a temporary reprieve for the Russian sadly. She would lose the set 6-4 and on to a decider we went.
The third set was a close affair which went to a twelfth game. Both players determined to hold serve. The long rallies certainly favored Anett more than Ekaterina. Watch 1-1(40-30). Anett had teh lioness share of the winners , starting to find the corners a lot more that Alexandrova. The close final was decided on this one moment at 6-5 but before that Ekaterina made a hash of serving out the match at 5-4. The unforgivable error on a routine forehand set her up to lose the match as a whole. Back to the decisive moment of the match 6-5(30-15). Ekaterina’s net coverage here left a lot to be desired. When she hits the final volley there she isn’t bang on the half court line but too much to the right of our screen. By the time she realized the passing shot was coming it was too late. Anett continues a productive 2021 with the Kremlin Cup win which sees her up to 14th in the WTA rankings. Ekaterina will be disappointed not to have put the match to bed in the second set, a case of errors at the most inconvenient of time.