2021 Viking International

Final Preview: Kontaveit and Ostapenko seek confidence

Ons Jabeur

Former Junior Wimbledon champion aims to beat Estonian ace for first time

Jelena Ostapenko, a former Junior Wimbledon winner, will need to register her maiden success over Anett Kontaveit if she is set to capture the Eastbourne crown.

Both players are rejuvenated this season having found their range on the Devonshire Park grass. Each have a shot at entering next week’s Grand Slam with a title to boost their confidence at the esteemed All England Club.

Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, lies 16 places lower than her Estonian opponent and only entered the tournament as a wildcard but should claim victory by a whisker.

Having failed to reach a quarter-final in her first dozen WTA Tour events this year, she has some illustrious opponents packing to reach the Eastbourne final. Ostapenko delivered the knockout blow to no.8 seed and Russia’s Roland Garros runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the opening round. Birmingham champion Ons Jabeur of Tunisia was next to be dismissed, in-form Russian Daria Kasatkina and Kazakhstani French Open quarter-finalist Elena Rybakina followed.

Kontaveit has also experienced a tough battle to secure her final berth, requiring three sets to see off Russian veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova and rising Swiss star Viktorija Golubic.

But she had an easier passage in the semi-final showdown with qualifier Camila Giorgi, that seemed enthralling as it was full of pace and grace. But with one eye on SW19 the Italian retired citing a leg injury while trailing 5–4.

Kontaveit beat Ostapenko in straight sets at a 2015 WTA Challenger in Ilkley, but required three sets to dismiss her opponent at the 2018 Australian Open. This time the result is in the balance and should go to three sets with Ostapenko the likely victor.

Prediction | Ostapenko in three sets

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