Unseeded Anett Kontaveit sprang a major upset at the Brisbane International, knocking out No.4 seed Petra Kvitova in straight sets to reach the quarterfinals.
The Estonian came into Brisbane looking to continue the positive momentum from 2018 that saw her reach career-high ranking of World No.20. She’s certainly made a great start to that goal in the new year, taking down Kvitova 7-5, 7-6(1) after an hour and 38 minutes.
There was not much separating the two players in the early exchanges – there were no break points on offer for the first 10 games of the set, both players dialled in from the start and firing winners off both wings. Kontaveit would chip away at Kvitova’s defenses with acute-angled forehands, but the Czech covered the court well and returned everything with interest.
It was Kontaveit who finally drew first blood, keeping Kvitova under pressure and forcing the errors. She was rewarded with the first break of the match at a crucial time, leading 6-5, and served it out with confidence to edge through the opening set.
Kvitova found her range in the second set, however, as she charged ahead to a 2-0 lead, but the Estonian grabbed the break straight back, showing her grit to get them level to 2-2 .
The set continued to unfold in tortuous manner: Kvitova broke once more at 4-2 and then powered ahead to love hold that put her within touching distance of the second set, but Kontaveit again pulled them back level with a late break at 5-4.
With both players deadlocked, the pair matched into a tiebreak, where Kontaveit bossed proceedings and pushing Kvitova back behind the baseline with her powerful groundstrokes. Kontaveit dropped just one point during the tiebreak, completing the victory in emphatic style to claim her ninth career Top 10 win.