Even though it was mathematical possibility, a place in Guadalajara seemed unlikely for Anett Kontaveit but she defied the odds to become the first semi-finalist at the 2021 WTA Finals

If you would have told me in September that Anett Kontaveit would be in the semi-finals of the WTA Finals I would’ve thought we were in an alternative world.

Absolutely no disrespect to the 25 year at all but admiration for what she has done. She has defined the phrase ‘turning your season around’. Anett won 20 of her opening 32 matches of the year up until and including her defeat to Ons Jabeur in Cincinnati. At this time the Estonian had recently changed coach bring in Dmitry Tursunov and after Cincinnati on the 23rd of August was at No.30 in the race, it was mathematically possible but unlikely she would make the top eight.

At this point she was over 1000 points off a place, it wasn’t just about her tennis though but everyone else is picking up points so closing that gap in the final 10 weeks was tough but quite incredible.

Coming into the WTA Finals she has won 26 of her last 29 matches and hasn’t dropped a set in her opening two matches securing a place in the final four with a match in hand.

6-3 6-4 vs Krecijkova
6-4 6-0 vs Pliskova

Her tennis has been faultless, it is quick and on the front foot. Her serve is solid, forehand has been brutal and she doesn’t waste time in points. Anett is on a 12 match winning streak, you don’t win the four titles she has in the last couple of months without near on perfect timing. Her groundstrokes and that movement forward is soo clean, it is a brand of tennis that can be high risk. Anett has always hit big from the baseline and it can go two ways, in or out but usually when it’s out it’s a bit wild.

I’m excited for what happens next in the tournament and going into 2022, she has to be considered a favourite and it shows the depth in women’s tennis. Anett qualified at the final possible moment and is the eighth seed but no one has played better than her so far. Watching her against Pliskova in that second set was exceptional, she kept the Czech behind that baseline and never let her in to try and swing a little bit of momentum.

We can all hit the ball hard but to do it repetitively with confidence, control and precision takes a lot of skill and I hope it continues.

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