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post #219 of (permalink) Old Dec 12th, 2011, 12:29 AM
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Re: Anett Kontaveit

Kontaveit, seeded fifth, had lost to No. 2 seed Putintseva 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 just ten days ago, but her big hitting was too much for the feisty Russian on Sunday.

"I was more aggressive, playing really well also, and I really did attack every ball," said Kontaveit, who turns 16 on Christmas Eve.

Putintseva got off a to a very slow start, trailing 5-1 in the first set, but often the 16-year-old Russian is more comfortable playing from behind, and can raise her game when she needs to.

Kontaveit was hitting with more power however, and Putintseva, unusually subdued throughout the first set, couldn't find a pattern to disrupt Kontaveit's rhythm. Kontaveit was closing the net when she sensed Putintseva was in a defensive position, and her volleys were confident and effective, although Putintseva did earn one opening early in the second set.

After a long bathroom break, Putintseva broke Kontaveit in the first game, but after a long game was broken back, just as the skies opened again, this time with little warning and drenching rain. It was two hours and 15 minutes before play could resume, and it looked as if that delay was going to be the momentum change Putintseva needed when Kontaveit hit two double faults and played lethargically to fall behind 2-1. Putintseva had two game points to take a 3-1 lead, but Kontaveit's two winners and a costly double fault marked the beginning of the end for the Russian.

Kontaveit held at love to take a 3-2 lead and then began hitting winner after winner, breaking Putintseva and holding for a 5-2 lead. With Putintseva serving to stay in the match, Kontaveit refused to ease up, and with a punishing forehand winner on her first match point, Kontaveit had her first Grade A title.

Putintseva beat her racquet on the Har-Tru several times, crumbling the frame with the violent impact. She shook hands with Kontaveit, then went to her bag, where she continued to bludgeon the smashed racquet.

Kontaveit was well aware of Putintseva's inclination to dramatize every point, but she was not about to get involved in a battle of wills and words.

"I just try to think about my own game and not focus too much on what she is doing," said Kontaveit, who still attends a regular school in Estonia, and takes her books with her when she is on the road.

Kontaveit could also look to several Estonian supporters in the crowd during her rare lapses, as a tennis coach she knows from Estonia brought along several friends with big neon pink poster-sized signs, each containing a letter of her first name.

"They are some Estonian coaches who came here to vacation," Kontaveit explained. "And of course, support helps."

Putintseva didn't think the advice she received from her coach worked for her in the rematch.

"My coach said I have to play more aggressive, but this way doesn't work with her," said Putintseva, whose ITF junior winning streak was snapped at 11. "Last time I was trying to move her more, but this time I was doing what my coach said, playing more aggressive, and that's why I lost today. And she was playing good today."

Kontaveit returns to Estonia on Monday, but unlike Thiem, she will not be leaving junior competition behind after capturing the Orange Bowl title.

"I will play both juniors and Futures," said Kontaveit, who has already won three events on the ITF women's circuit this year.

But for now, she will savor this unexpected victory.

"I didn't see that win coming," she said in her excellent English. "I was hoping to get some good matches, I really did not have big expectations. I'm just really happy."

Thanks to Colette Lewis of zootennis
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