For the third time in four tournaments played this year, Anett Kontaveit is into the quarterfinals. The No.4 seed at the Qatar TotalEnergies Open booked a place in the last eight of the the hard way on Wednesday, battling to a 6-3, 0-6, 6-2 third-round victory over No.16 seed and former champion Elise Mertens.
Outstanding winner 🤩@AnettKontaveit_ | #QatarTennis pic.twitter.com/UUF85z5p7m— wta (@WTA) February 23, 2022
Match management: Kontaveit had lost to Mertens three times in the pair's four previous meetings after beating her in their first meeting five years ago, and dropped the middle set in a bagel in under a half hour. However, she regrouped more than admirably in the decider, in which she broke Mertens twice and lost just four points on her own serve.
In the first set, Kontaveit held from 0-40 down at 2-2 and secured the decisive break of Mertens' serve in the next game. Though the Belgian staved off two set points on her own serve in the eighth game, Kontaveit emphatically served out a one-set lead to love.
Ons up next: For a spot in the semifinals, Kontaveit will next face Ons Jabeur, who came through a tight three-setter against Tereza Martincova. The pair have played five times and Jabeur leads the head-to-head, 3-2.
The first 2022 meeting between two good friends, and now rivals, ended prematurely in Sydney last month and in the Estonian's favor: after losing the first set to Kontaveit in the quarterfinals, 6-4, Jabeur retired with a low back injury that ultimately forced her out of the Australian Open.
"I'm really glad actually to see her back playing after she retired against me in Sydney. She had these back issues. I'm very happy to see her back on the court," Kontaveit said. "She's a really great person. It's always tough to play someone you're good friends with.
"I have a lot of respect for her as a person, as well, so I'm ready for the fight and it's just going to be an interesting match. I think she's a great shot maker and just always plays an entertaining match. It's going to be fun."
Sakkari takes Australian Open rematch with Pegula
Itching for a rematch against Jessica Pegula after she exited the Australian Open at the American's hands, Maria Sakkari delivered the goods to reach the quarterfinals in Doha for the second straight year.
In a 6-4, 7-5 victory, Sakkari came from 2-0 down in each set to see off Pegula in 1 hour and 44 minutes.
Highlights: Sakkari def. Pegula
Another American to come: Sakkari advances to a quarterfinal meeting with Coco Gauff, in which the teenager will seek to upset her second Top 10 player in as many matches after beating Paula Badosa in her third round match earlier on Wednesday.
Swiatek beats Kasatkina for third time this year
In just 64 minutes, Iga Swiatek her third with against Daria Kasatkina in the last month. The No.7 seed booked a spot in her third quarterfinal of the season with a 6-3, 6-0 victory, setting a date with top seed Aryna Sabalenka in the process.
😇Happy with my performance and focus today. See you in quaterfinal.— Iga Świątek (@iga_swiatek) February 23, 2022
😇Dobry wieczór w Doha, dobra jakość i dobra koncentracja. Do zobaczenia w ćwierćfinale.#seeyoutomorrow pic.twitter.com/nJHIymuKuW
Another dominant performance: In three matches between the two so far this year at the Australian Open, Dubai and Doha, Swiatek hasn't lost a set and surrendered just 11 games combined.
Highlights: Swiatek def. Kasatkina
From 2-2 in the first set, Swiatek won 10 of the last 11 games. She saved two break points at 2-2 in the opener to hold, and secured the decisive break than earned her the first set in the next game.
Down. The. Line 😎@iga_swiatek | #QatarTennis pic.twitter.com/dkdcbeFJeX— wta (@WTA) February 23, 2022
Sabalenka won the pair's only previous meeting, which came last fall at the AKRON WTA Finals Guadalajara. In the round-robin clash, the Belarusian came from a set down to win, 2-6, 6-2, 7-5.