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By Richard Pagliaro | Sunday, October 24, 2021


A red-hot Anett Kontaveit roared back to beat Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 to capture the Kremlin Cup crown in Moscow.

Photo credit: Getty

A red-hot Anett Kontaveit played rally thriller in Moscow.

Facing a one-set, 0-4 deficit, a resilient Kontaveit roared back to beat Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 to capture the Kremlin Cup crown in Moscow.

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It is Kontaveit's 21st win in her last 23 matches. The 20th-ranked Kontaveit captured her third title in the last three months making history as the first Estonian to win the Kremlin Cup.

"It feels so amazing," Kontaveit said. "The match was so tough. I'm just so relieved and so, so happy."

It was a gut-wrenching loss for Alexandrova, the seventh straight Russian finalist in Moscow. Alexandrova was two points from a 6-4, 5-0 lead, but didn't seize the moment. Kontaveit surged through seven straight games to set up the climactic final set.

Alexandrova committed her sixth double fault to face championship point. The Russian went for a big second serve, caught the center stripe and was in prime position for a forehand sitter, but sailed the shot long as Kontaveit claimed her fourth career title in two hours, 22 minutes.

Alexandrova had knocked off three Top 10 opponents—Ons Jabeur, Aryna Sabalenka and Maria Sakkari—becoming the seventh straight Russian woman to contest the Moscow final.

World No. 37 Alexandrova broke for a 3-2 lead then snapped through her serve games with authority. Alexandrova won 12 of the final 14 points played on her serve in the opener snatching a one-set lead.

Moving the ball corner to corner and sometimes smacking strikes down the line, Alexandrova lifted her level soaring through five straight games for a 6-4, 4-0 lead.

The Russian was two points from a commanding 5-0 second-set lead when Kontaveit put her foot down and began a fierce fight back.

Striking off her front foot with more frequency, a fired-up Kontaveit broke three times in a row bursting back into the set. Alexandrova, who was swinging freely for much of the match, began misfiring a big on her forehand and seemed to be pained by a hip issue.

None of that mattered much to Kontaveit, who found her form.

Kontaveit cranked a forehand down the line breaking to take the second set with her sixth straight game and a firm “come on!”

It was the first set Alexandrova had surrendered in five matches all week.

The Russian halted her slide at seven games working through a tense deuce hold to level the final set after two games.

Though Kontaveit rarely came to net in this final, she frequently excelled when she did. A stunning full-stretch forehand volley from Kontaveit helped her hold for 3-2.

Credit Alexandrova for continuing to battle. Staring down a break point in the eighth game, Alexandrova slid a backhand winner down the line that helped her hold for 4-4.


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