Two of the Tours most improved players from 2021. Barbora Krecjikova is the French Open champion whilst Anette Kontaveit had 4 singles titles last year her best yet. The big BUT for Anett is can she make the step up to WTA1000 and Grand Slam level. Her good showing at the season ending WTA Championships certainly suggests that. Barbora and Anett made it to the semis by going through relatively unknown Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia and Ons Jabeur(walkover) respectively. Match looks close on paper but first set it was anything but as Anett routed Barbora. The cardinal sin you can do in a match against Anett is play straight into her forehand in rallies. Check out how easy it was for the Estonian at 2-0 first set (40-0 up). Anett and Barbora both served well at 63% but the rallies weren’t going Barbora’s way at all either on receiving or serving. She didn’t learn at 4-0 Anett(adv Kontaveit). The Czech was duly put out of her misery in set one at 5-0(30-40) netting a routine forehand cross court. Body language read “I have given up on this set can’t wait for the next one”.

In order to get back into this game Krecjikova had to do one of two things. Number one let us play more shots if possible to Anett’s backhand. Two, pounce on the second serve on the ad court playing your favorite shot, the backhand cross court again to Anett’s backhand. Watch 1-0 Kontaveit(40-15 Barbora). Another strong shot of Barbora’s is the forehand cross court which finds the corners so well as it did at Roland Garros against Pavlyuchenkova. This time it was on the deuce court but same concept. Now on to the backhand of the Czech. Give her a sniff she will pounce. Watch 4-3(15-150 and you can see the confidence getting better and better. She hits it almost like a golf shot, the swing of the hip that is. Barbora finally got break point opportunities at 4-4 and didn’t pass them on. 40-30 couldn’t have gone better for her. She closed out the set 6-4 and now we had a semi final at long last. Now over to Anett.

To get the momentum back in the third set she needed to do one of two. Number one wait for the unforced errors from set one to reemerge from Barbora or get on the front foot in rallies and control them. Number one was unlikely given the new found confidence Barbora had, so number two was on. She didn’t do that early on in the third, or rather Barbora never gave her a chance to. Watch the early break gained by Barbora at 1-1(30-40) quickly finishing off the point punishing the slower serve. To her credit Anett didn’t take long to get back on serve. Blows were traded until the tie breaker. Barbora had one more major scare to overcome though. 6-5(30-40) match point Kontaveit. How about that for corner finding at its most ruthless? And what an epic tie breaker it was. The first serve was crucial here, both players were unyielding on it. All of sudden two very bad points from Kontaveit saw Barbora get two match points at 6-4. Weaker backhand from Annett? I don’t think so. It may be her weaker shot but it came up trumps here. The breaker would go to a 26th point and a bit of an anti climax to it. The uncharacteristically long forehand gifting Barbora the win. She will face either Russia’s Daria Kasatkina or Paula Badosa of Spain in the final.