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Second-seeded Kontaveit beats Begu in Cleveland final

Tennis: National Bank Open

Aug 10, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Anett Kontaveit of Estonia serves against Jessica Pegula of the United States (not pictured) during first round play at Stade IGA. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports.

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

CLEVELAND Second-seeded Anett Kontaveit of Estonia won the Tennis in the Land final Saturday for her second WTA Tour title, beating Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania 7-6 (5), 6-4.

The 30th-ranked Kontaveit entered the tournament on a four-match losing streak, then won five matches in six days in the inaugural WTA 250 event.

“It’s been a rough year, so I was really enjoying myself,” Kontaveit said. “Of course, it’s special to get a title as it’s been a while, but the main thing for me was gaining more confidence on the court. The welcome we received was so warm, it felt like home here.”

Kontaveit didn’t double-fault until the final game and completed the 115-minute contest with a forehand down the left sideline. She also won in 2017 in the Netherlands.

No. 74 Begu fell behind 5-2 in the opening set before succeeding on her fifth break point, then held serve to force the tiebreaker. She missed a drop-shot and made an unforced error, in order, to lose her first set at the tournament.

“Anett, you played amazing and you deserved to win,” Begu said. “It’s been an amazing week for me, celebrating my (31st) birthday and having so many Romanians here cheering. This has been a wonderful experience.”

Begu advanced to her first final since winning in Bucharest in her homeland in 2017. She was seeking her fifth WTA Tour title.

“It was a really, really, really, really close match,” Kontaveit said. “Putting pressure on yourself is not necessary, so I went point by point, trying to stay as calm as I could. I’m very happy with the way I pushed myself and pushed through.”

In the doubles final, top-seeded Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara of Japan beat Christina McHale of the United States and Sania Mirza of India 7-5, 6-3.

Aoyama and Shibahara won for the fifth time this year and eighth overall.

“American crowds have such a big voice, I thank you for that,” said Aoyama, who has 17 career doubles title. “And thank you Ena for playing with me.”