Anett Kontaveit, of Estonia, serves to Iga Swiatek, of Poland, during the third round of the US Open tennis championships, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
- No. 3 seed Belinda Bencic will take on Anett Kontaveit in the quarterfinals of the Ostrava Open
- It will be the last match on Friday in Ostrava, to start around 2:00 pm ET
- Kontaveit won their only meeting, but this is expected to be a closer contest. We break it down
Anett Kontaveit is a player who, if she’s unseeded at the bigger tournaments, is a solid competitor any top player would prefer to avoid.
And No. 3 seed Belinda Bencic, who meets the 25-year-old from Estonia in the Ostrava Open quarterfinals on Friday, has had previous experience with just how good she can be.
It’s no wonder the odds are so close.
Anett Kontaveit vs Belinda Bencic Odds
|Anett Kontaveit (EST)||+0.5 (-135)||-110||O 21.5 (-125)|
| Belinda Bencic (SUI)||-0.5 (-105)||-115||U 21.5 (-110)|
Odds as of Sept. 23 at DraftKings
Kontaveit Upsets No. 9 Seed Badosa
On paper, at least, it was an upset. But the difference in ranking between Kontaveit (currently No. 30) and Paula Badosa (No. 27) was so minor that the seeded status was almost meaningless.
And the win was relatively routine for Kontaveit: 6-3, 6-4.
Badosa has a pretty powerful first serve. But she was able to win less than 40 percent of points on her second serve against Kontaveit.
Meanwhile, the Estonian won 54 percent of points on her own second serve. And, just as crucially, lost just six-of-32 points on her first serve.
Kontaveit a Solid Performer Who Never Beats Herself
Kontaveit hasn’t had a great year at the very top level. She ran into the 2020 French Open winner Iga Swiatek in two of the Grand Slam tournaments. And she got a tough draw at the Olympics, losing to Maria Sakkari in the first round.
But the list of players who have beaten her in 2021 is almost exclusively made up of players ranked higher than she is. And many of those matches went the full three sets.
At the 500- and 250-level events, Kontaveit has never failed to make the quarterfinals in 2021. Three times, she’s made the final.
Anett Kontaveit vs Belinda Bencic Head-to-Head
|25 (Dec. 24, 1995)||Age||26 (Aug. 27, 1994)|
|Tallinn, Estonia||Birthplace||Flawil, Switzerland|
|2||Career WTA Singles Titles||4|
|0||Career Grand Slam Titles||0|
|No. 14 (April 1, 2019)||Career High Ranking||No. 4 (Feb. 17, 2020)|
|No. 30||Current Ranking||No. 11|
|$5,681,595||Career Prize Money||$9,271,871|
|38-14||2021 Won/Loss record||32-17|
|1||Career Head to Head||0|
Kontaveit Win Over Bencic was Emphatic
It will encourage the underdog Kontaveit that she leads her head-to-head against Bencic 1-0.
And that win was a 6-0, 6-1 shellacking in the third round of the 2020 Australian Open.
Bencic didn’t have any answers that day, Kontaveit had … all of them. She played so aggressively and confidently, losing just nine points on her serve overall (just three on her first serve).
Meanwhile, Bencic won just half her first-serve points and just 18-of-44 points on her own serve.
The Estonian has to channel that feeling and bring it to the court Friday. And Bencic, still basking in the glow of her Olympic gold medal, has to get down to business against a quality opponent who will again look to jump all over her serve, particularly her weaker second delivery.
Kontaveit’s return, notably, is clearly in great form. She broke Romania’s Sorana Cirstea six times in their first-round match in Ostrava and limited the Romanian to 27.8% success with her second serve.
Anett Kontaveit vs Belinda Bencic Match History
|2020||Australian Open (R32)||Outdoor Hard||6-0, 6-1||Kontaveit|
|2019||US Open (R32)||Outdoor Hard||WALKOVER||Bencic|
Value in a Three-Setter
It’s tough to find great value when the odds are so tight on virtually everything. But both players are at +350 to win in three sets.
It then comes down to which one will prevail.
Most of the tournament this week (men and women) have 28-player draws, meaning the top four seeds get first-round byes and mostly don’t begin play until Thursday. And those top seeds have been taking a beating.
Kontaveit is the more match-tested this week. And she has beaten two quality opponents in Badosa and Cirstea.
Bencic has had just the one match against Sara Sorribes Tormo, who is a good defender but doesn’t offer up much pace.
She looked good, but the Spaniard’s game style wasn’t great preparation for facing Kontaveit.
Best Bet: Kontaveit in three sets (+350)
Stephanie gets the straight dope from the tennis insiders. On court, she has represented her country internationally. A BA in journalism led to years on the MLB beat and a decade covering tennis globally. She’s written for Postmedia, the Guardian, the New York Times and also publishes OpenCourt.ca.