When she steps onto Arthur Ashe Stadium Sunday afternoon, Anett Kontaveit will not just be facing 2-time U.S. Open champion Venus Williams. The 19-year old Estonian will seek to become just the 2nd female qualifier and 4th qualifier overall to reach the US Open quarterfinals.
A native of Tallin, Kontaveit is competing in just her third ever Grand Slam tournament, having lost in the 1st Round of Wimbledon the last 2 years. At the Open, it’s been a different story. She’s lost just two sets in her six matches, three in qualifying and three in the main draw. After surviving 6-4 in the 3rd set of her final round qualifying match against Brit Naomi Broady, Kontaveit defeated Aussie lefty Casey Dellacqua and 31st seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets before going the distance to beat American Madison Brengle, winning the final set 6-0. If she can beat Williams, she’ll join Barbara Gerken from 1981 as the only women to emerge from Open qualifiers to the quarterfinals.
Kontaveit won the Estonian National Championships in 2009, becoming the youngest winner of the event at age 13 and repeating as winner in 2010. The following January, she won her first ITF tournament in her hometown of Tallinn in singles and doubles and repeated as singles champion in 2012 with another doubles title in 2013. She has added 9 more ITF tournament wins, her most recent in Eastbourne this past spring. There are some good memories for Kontaveit in New York as she reached the 2012 US Open Junior Girls’ final, losing to American Samantha Crawford. Her run to the Round of 16 ensures she’ll reach the Top 100 for the first time in her career. She can also become the 2nd Estonian to ever make a Slam quarterfinal as Kaia Kanepi has made the last eight at a Slam five times. Win or lose, Kontaveit has ensured her time in New York has been memorable.
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