It doesn’t happen often that the first seed and the second meet in a final if a 500. So this had a making of being a classic and it didn’t disappoint as Sakkari and Kontaveit produced the first candidate for match of the year. Sakkari with just one title in her career surprisingly, started rather well on serve with successive love games whilst Anett struggled on hers. But it was the Estonian who got the first breakthrough. The sixth game so Anett take a 4-2 lead. Somehow Anett lost her way after that. She started missing potential winners one after the other from a commanding 5-2 lead in the first set. Maria got Anett to start doubting herself leading to the Greek winning 5 consecutive games to take the first set 7-5. Check out 5-3(15-15). Sakkari was the better player from the net the entire game showing poise and patience to attack at the right time, with the control on the volley sublime. By 6-5 all Anett’s confidence was gone and she surrendered the set rather meekly at 40-15.

On to second set now and losing a break early was the jolt Anett needed to get her game together. At 2-0 she crafted her points well right from teh Maria serve. Check out advantage Sakkari hitting the corners making Sakkari work harder. Winning that point was so crucial, had she gone 3-0 down it would have been hard to see any other winner other than the Greek. Both players served above 60% first serve but it was Anett who improved on serve as the match went on. Both players held serve until the match went to a tie breaker. It was Kontaveit who upped her game in the breaker. But before she could win it check out how Maria turns defense into attack at 3-1. The key was the angle on the forehand cross court mid point, it takes practice to perfect such a shot. Anett defends it rather well too with the forehand down the line but the Estonian is too slow to cover the open side of the court.

Now on to the deciding set. Sakkari again with the early advantage breaking Anett early to take another commanding lead 3-0. Somehow she managed to blow it. But no it wasn’t her blowing it it was more Anett doing what she always does. Get back to her basics, hitting the baseline shots to open up the court for the winners. Watch 3-0(15-40). Again her return game wins matches more than her serve. Watch the defense at 3-1 deuce. For once Sakkari messed up at the net, no angle on the volley at all. Now, tennis is a game of confidence, placing doubt in the mind of your opponent. Anett has that skill in spades. Chance number to serve out the match for Maria, at 5-3. Gone. No surprise unforced error at 15-40. Chance to take a step towards the title by holding serve at 5-5. Not happening. A doubt filled nervous volley at the net no where near good enough at 15-40 setting up Anett to serve out the match at 6-5. After a good start to the twelfth game by Sakkari, there was no stopping Anett. Kontaveit with her first title of the year and yet another WTA500. Sakkari has some serious soul searching to do. I think all she needs is to get that one major title and the flood gates will open. She is a much better player than that.