The Insider Wrap is a recap of everything you need to know from the week that was. This week, WTA Insider looks back at the 2022 St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, the first indoor tournament of the season.
Performance of the Week: Anett Kontaveit
The numbers behind Anett Kontaveit's surge over the past six months are staggering. Going into the Cleveland WTA 250 last August, her only WTA title had come in 2017 on the grass of s'Hertogenbosch. She has now added five titles to her career tally, all of which have come on hard courts and four of which have now come on indoor hard courts.
After winning the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy to extend her indoor winning streak to 20 matches - the best indoor streak in more than a decade - the 26-year-old hit a new career-high ranking of No.6. Seeded No.2 in St. Petersburg, Kontaveit ran through a tough draw with wins against Jil Teichmann, Sorana Cirstea, Belinda Bencic and Jelena Ostapenko. In Sunday's final, Kontaveit overcame her toughest test of the week. After squandering a 5-2 lead in the first set, which she lost, Kontaveit came back from a break down in the next two sets to edge top seed Maria Sakkari 5-7, 7-6, 7-5 for the title.
Surprise of the Week: Irina Camelia Begu
Begu has quietly strung together a strong six months. Like Kontaveit, the Cleveland WTA 250 event last August seemed to spark something within the 31-year-old Begu, who hit a career-high No.22 in 2016. Begu made the final in Cleveland (losing to Kontaveit) and has now made the quarterfinals or better at four of her past eight events. En route to the semifinals in St. Petersburg, Begu defeated Petra Kvitova in the second round and gave Sakkari all she could handle over three hours in the semifinals, losing 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.
Maria Sakkari: The Greek star is simply too talented and hardworking to have just one title to her name. Since the start of 2021, Sakkari has made nine semifinals, making two finals over that span. Each time she's made a final - in Ostrava and St. Petersburg - it's been Kontaveit on the other side of the net.
The St. Petersburg loss will sting. After an incredible comeback in the first set, Sakkari was up a set and a break before Kontaveit pulled her into a third set. Sakkari was up 5-2 in the decider and served for the match at 5-3 but never saw a match point. But she keeps putting herself in a position to break through and continues to book a regular spot in the final four.
Jelena Ostapenko: The Latvian has yet to tally a big top-line result in 2022, but she's quietly proved she's right back in the mix. Her three losses this season have all come to in-form Top 10 players: eventual champion Paula Badosa in Sydney, Barbora Krejcikova at the Australian Open and Kontaveit in the St. Petersburg semifinals.
On the run lob 👉 perfectly placed! 😳@AnettKontaveit_ | #FormulaTX pic.twitter.com/vgEFqXNhsp— wta (@WTA) February 13, 2022
0: Indoor titles won by Anett Kontaveit before September 2021. She has now won four - 2021 Ostrava, 2021 Moscow, 2021 Cluj-Napoca, 2022 St. Petersburg.
1: Career title won by Anett Kontaveit before August 2021, which came on the grass at 2017 s'Hertogenbosch. After winning St. Petersburg, Kontaveit's tally now sits at six career titles.
6: Players who have won 20 or more consecutive indoor WTA matches since 1990.
Stats Corner: How Kontaveit's indoor streak stacks up against the game's greats
9: Tournaments at which Maria Sakkari has made the semifinals or better since the start of 2021. Sakkari is 2-7 in semifinals over that span. She advanced to the final at 2021 Ostrava and 2022 St. Petersburg, losing to Kontaveit both times.
13: Number of times Maria Sakkari and Anett Kontaveit have faced each other on tour. With her win in St. Petersburg, Kontaveit now holds a narrow 7-6 lead in their head-to-head.
Quote of the Week: Maria Sakkari
All class from the Greek after a tough loss.
From one friend to another 🥰@mariasakkari | #FormulaTX pic.twitter.com/YygJkJ7dl5— wta (@WTA) February 13, 2022
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