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Barty vs Kontaveit tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Barty faces powerful Kontaveit for Cincinnati quarterfinal spot

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 15 Aug 2019
  • Ashleigh Barty faces Anett Kontaveit in the third round of the Western & Southern Open
  • Barty vs Kontaveit is live from Cincinnati on Thursday
Ashleigh Barty (PA Sports)

Top seed Ashleigh Barty pursues a reunion with the world no. 1 ranking and her best result in Cincinnati so far as she takes on Anett Kontaveit for a place in the Western & Southern Open quarterfinals.

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After a confidence-boosting win over Maria Sharapova, Ashleigh Barty prepares to face the powerful Anett Kontaveit in the third round of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati on Thursday.

Barty celebrates beating Sharapova (PA Sports)
This is the third straight year that Barty has made the last 16 at the Premier-5 event in Cincinnati, doing so as a qualifier in 2017 and as the 16th seed in 2018, but she has never gone beyond, losing to Caroline Wozniacki and Simona Halep respectively.

This year, Barty is the top seed in Cincinnati despite having ceded her world no. 1 ranking to Naomi Osaka on Monday as a result of her second-round defeat to Sofia Kenin at the Rogers Cup last week. The French Open champion is also in with a chance of securing the top seeding for the US Open (as is Karolina Pliskova), although she will have to reach at least the semifinals in Cincinnati to do so.

Barty has made a good start, though. Against Kenin in Toronto, Barty faced an opponent who was playing both well and fearlessly, but her own game was full of holes and errors as she played her first match since losing in the third round of Wimbledon to Alison Riske. 

Despite a rocky start, Barty’s opening match in Cincinnati was a vast improvement as she came back from an early break to win 11 of the last 13 games against Maria Sharapova. The Russian had actually beaten Riske in the first round to set up the clash with Barty, who came back from a set down against her at the Australian Open, and made a positive start as she broke serve and consolidated to lead 3-1.

But once Barty got her feet under her, she had little trouble getting her second win over Sharapova in four meetings. Her first-serve percentage was not the highest – a fairly decent 57% - but she only lost seven points in the match when she landed that first delivery, and she really dictated the terms of the match, dominating the points in a way that would have been unthinkable for Barty a few years ago and moving Sharapova around point after point to elicit errors from her. Sharapova is clearly in desperate need of match practice after struggling with first a shoulder and then a left forearm injury this year, but it was a very calm and confident performance from Barty as she closed out her 40th match win of the season 6-4, 6-1 in 99 minutes.

Next up for Barty is another powerful, aggressive player – but one who should be a lot more solid off the ground than Sharapova.

Anett Kontaveit (PA Sports)
Anett Kontaveit actually defeated Sharapova in three sets last week on her way to the third round of the Rogers Cup, where she ended up losing in straight sets to Karolina Pliskova. The 23-year-old powerhouse from Estonia, who also made the third round of Cincinnati last year, broke into the top 20 at the very end of last year after reaching the biggest final of her career so far in Wuhan, and is looking to make the fourth semifinal of her career at a Premier-5 or bigger event after doing so in Rome and Wuhan last year, and Miami this March (with some help from a fairly soft draw in which the biggest challenges were probably teenagers Amanda Anisimova and Bianca Andreescu, the latter exhausted from her Indian Wells exploits).

Kontaveit went on to make the final of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart in April, helped by a walkover from Osaka in the semifinals, and finished runner-up to Petra Kvitova, but went 2-5 in her next five events and was defeated by the unseeded Karolina Muchova in the third round of Wimbledon.

Kontaveit has had some good results on American hard courts in the past, and she played well in Toronto last week with wins over Sharapova and Carla Suarez Navarro. So far in Cincinnati, she opened her campaign with a 7-6(7), 6-2 upset victory over Angelique Kerber and backed that up by beating rising Pole Iga Swiatek 6-4, 7-6(2) to set up the clash with Barty.

The Estonian is looking for the tenth victory of her career over a top-10 opponent and her first over Barty, who beat her 6-3, 6-3 in Miami this spring in their only previous meeting. Kontaveit does have the raw power off both wings to really take it to Barty, but she’ll have to hit the ball flat and risk errors to do so, and she has never conquered a tendency to get very down on herself once things don’t go her way. I also don’t think she’ll cope with Barty’s knifelike slice much better than Sharapova did, and if Barty can prevent Kontaveit from teeing off on too many of her second serves – something the Estonian will do with devastating effect, given the chance – she should reach her first Western & Southern Open quarterfinal.

Barty vs Kontaveit tennis is live from Cincinnati on Thursday

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Barty vs Kontaveit tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Barty faces powerful Kontaveit for Cincinnati quarterfinal spot

Ashleigh Barty vs Anett Kontaveit live streaming, preview and predictions for the Western & Southern Open third-round match on Thursday 15 August: Top seed Barty aims to make her first Cincinnati quarterfinal as she takes on big-hitting Kontaveit

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