Kontaveit is a player to watch

AP Photo/Vincent Thian

Kontaveit is a player to watch

One of the great perks of being a member of XS Tennis in Chicago is the fact that one gets to run into Kamau Murray on occasion. Kamau is the founder of XS Tennis Foundation and the coach of Sloane Stephens. Kamau’s main mission at XS Tennis is developing young players from the south side. He’s a super humble and friendly dude, who’s extremely approachable.


Anyway, on this particular Monday when I ran into him, I asked him if there was any player to watch in 2019. He mentioned that Anett Kontaveit, the 22-year-old Estonian ranked 20th in the word, is setting herself up to have a great 2019. I’m not going to disagree with Kamau, so I decided to see what kind of results she had in 2018. Here’s a wrap up of her year:


She had a decent Australian Open, beating seventh seed Jelena Ostapenko in the third round before falling in the fourth round to Carl Suarez Navarro 6-8 in the third.


Heading into the clay court season, she started at Stuttgart, where she beat a string of decent players including Kerber and Mladenovic on her way to the semis where she easily lost to (5) Pliskova in two sets 4-6, 2-6. Her real breakthrough came in Rome, where she took out (12) Coco Vandeweghe, (8) Venus Williams, and (2) Caroline Wozniacki, before falling to eventual Champion (4) Elina Svitolina in the Semis. At the French she made it to the fourth round before falling to Sloane Stephens, who would make the finals.


The rest of her year was a bit uneventful. However, what’s interesting about Kontaveit are the number of top 10 players she beat this year. Here’s her hit list:


  • Venus Williams
  • Petra Kvitova
  • Caroline Wozniacki
  • Jelena Ostapenko
  • Angelique Kerber
  • Sloane Stephens


The players she took out in various tournaments are no slouches. This leads me to believe that Kamau is on to something. Let’s see if he’s right! Keep an eye on Kontaveit.


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