Quarterfinals in Russia. Second seed Anette Kountaveit of Estonia taking on Belinda Bencic of Switzerland the fifth seed and former runner up in St Petersburg. Bencic’s serve is a sideways slice serve which may guarantee you don’t double fault but gives the advantage to the right hander especially on the deuce court. Check out 1-0(30-30). Before long Bencic was a break down and having a huge task to get back into the match against a player who I consider to be the best in the 250s and 500s. She did fight back to her credit. Her return prowess on show at 2-0 Anett (15-0). The backhand is her strongest weapon, here it had control, shifting the body aptly. What Anett’s poor showing at the Aussie Open showed was that whilst Anett’s weakness was on serve, her return game has gone up a notch in the last 8 or so months. Watch 4-3 Bencic(adv Belinda). The Swiss now up a break, hit the sweet spot on serve down the T, but Kontaveit is very comfortable in her forehand, gets there setting up the point win. I would have liked Bencic’s serve to be at the backhand side when serving on the ad side. Bencic eventually couldn’t make the break stick so off to the breaker we went. Just deserts if you ask me as both players effectively cancelled each other. A very tight breaker it was. An improvement in serve from both should be noted. Kontaveit winning it 9-7, it was an error from Belinda that did it for her failing to control a forehand direct from serve.
Second set now. The forehand that won Anett so many titles in 2921 finally showed up. Watch first game 40-40. As in the first set, early break of serve to the Estonian. This time she didn’t flinch. However Bencic deserves some credit with the shot of the match. Showing why she is the Olympic champ, she hits the ball so hard for a diminutive figure. Check out 2-0 Kontaveit (0-30). The key to the backhand is the slight bend of the knees , open racquet with the swing of the hip ala golf. Kontaveit was eating up any slower serve hit in the direction of her forehand, eventually going into cruise control leading 4-0 in the set with the double break. That scoreline is mentally finishing on its own, although Bencic did get one of the breaks back. It was too late though. Anett getting into the 2022 groove with a big win , through to the last eight.