No.2 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia won her 20th straight indoor match, and her fourth consecutive indoor title, with a grueling 5-7, 7-6(4), 7-5 victory over No.1 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy on Sunday.
In a bruising battle between Top 10 players, 9th-ranked Kontaveit needed 2 hours and 57 minutes to overcome 7th-ranked Sakkari. Kontaveit was down a break in both the second and third sets before collecting her sixth career WTA singles title — five of which have come in the last seven months.
Indoor dominance: Kontaveit’s 20-match indoor winning streak began with title runs last year at Ostrava, Moscow and Cluj-Napoca, a rich vein of form which propelled her to a Top 10 debut and a spot at the season-ending Akron WTA Finals, where she finished as runner-up to Garbine Muguruza.
With yet another indoor title under her belt after this week’s exploits, she becomes just the sixth player with at least 20 consecutive indoor wins since 1989. The others are:
Kontaveit is the first player to hit that number in over a decade. Justine Henin was the last to do so, when she won 22 indoor matches in a row between Stuttgart 2007 and Stuttgart 2010.
Indoor wins 😮— wta (@WTA) February 13, 2022
Ostrava champion 🏆
Moscow champion 🏆
Cluj-Napoca champion 🏆
St. Petersburg champion 🏆@AnettKontaveit_ is the sixth player with 20+ consecutive indoor wins since 1989! pic.twitter.com/3W8lZ78uBC
Stat corner: Kontaveit and Sakkari came into their latest clash with a hefty yet evenly balanced rivalry. The pair had faced off 12 times previously, each grabbing six wins apiece.
However, Kontaveit had won their two most recent battles, defeating Sakkari in the Ostrava final and in round-robin play at the Akron WTA Finals last year.
Kontaveit made it three wins in a row and now finds herself ahead 7-6 in their head-to-head. It is also the 19th Top 10 win of Kontaveit's career.
Sakkari came close to ending a title drought that dates back to her first WTA singles title, which came on the clay courts of Rabat in 2019, two years and nine months ago.
However, the Greek was denied a second title by an inspired Kontaveit, just as she had been in her only other final since 2019, at the aforementioned Ostrava last year.
Match breakdown: Very little separated the pair, with both breaking serve four times and having nearly equal effectiveness returning first and second serves.
Kontaveit led 5-2 in the first set, but she failed to serve out the set at 5-3, and Sakkari claimed two consecutive breaks of serve to lead 6-5. Sakkari then served out the set, firing winners from both wings to notch a fifth straight game.
Sakkari extended that run to seven straight games as she moved ahead 2-0 in the second set, though Kontaveit pulled back on serve at 3-3. After Kontaveit saved two break points to hold for 6-5, the Estonian grabbed a set point in the next game, but Sakkari swiped that away and the duo moved into a tiebreak.
In the breaker, a pair of unreturnable serves by Kontaveit gave her a 6-3 lead and three more set points, and the No.2 seed converted the second of that trio after a Sakkari backhand found the net.
Sakkari regrouped at the start of the third set, garnering a break for 2-0 and fending off three break points to stretch her lead to 4-1. Sakkari served for the match at 5-3, but her backhand let her down in that game with miscues as Kontaveit pulled back on serve once more.
Kontaveit took her new opportunity with gusto, firing a forehand passing winner to earn a second straight break and lead 6-5. Kontaveit would not yield from there, as it was her turn to reel off five straight games and swipe the final set, keeping her indoor winning streak active.
Kalinskaya, McNally grab doubles title: Earlier on Sunday, the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy doubles championship was decided with Anna Kalinskaya of Russia and Caty McNally of the United States defeating Alicja Rosolska of Poland and Erin Routliffe of New Zealand 6-3, 6-7(5), [10-4].
Rosolska and Routliffe gritted out a nearly hour-long second set to push the final into a decisive match-tiebreak, but Kalinskaya and McNally won the first five points of the match-tiebreak and eased home from there in the 1-hour and 39-minute affair.
Kalinskaya and McNally teamed up for the first time this week, and took the title by winning their semifinal as well as the final in match-tiebreaks.
Kalinskaya, on home soil, claimed her third WTA doubles title, while the occasion marks McNally's fifth career WTA doubles title.