Viking International Eastbourne 2021: Ostapenko crowned Eastbourne champion
• 3 MINUTE READ
Jelena Ostapenko was crowned the 2021 Viking International Eastbourne champion after defeating Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 6-3 in a high quality final lasting one hour and seven minutes.
Ostapenko became only the third woman to win the Viking International Eastbourne title having received a wildcard into the main draw – joining Monica Seles (1996) and Julie Halard-Decugis (2000).
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It was a dream start for the Latvian, who picked up where she left off from a resounding victory yesterday against Elena Rybakina. Her return game this week has been outstanding and she wasted no time in wielding it to her advantage again in the final.
In only the third game, Ostapenko got hold of a few of the Estonian’s second serves and rifled them back with purpose preventing Kontaveit from getting into any sort of rhythm. A wide backhand from Kontaveit set up a third break point for the World No.43 which she clinched with a hammer of a cross court return.
Ostapenko has raised her level at each stage of this year’s competition and it seemed she’d saved her best until last. Back-to-back breaks gave her a 5-1 lead and it looked like there was no way back for Kontaveit.
The World No.27 showed signs of life getting her first and only break of the match in some style – hitting four winners off returns in a row. But still the sheer force of the Ostapenko return kept coming and any thought of a comeback was quickly squashed with a third break to win the set.
A former semi-finalist at Wimbledon and quarter-finalist in Eastbourne, Ostapenko knows her way around a grass court and today showed that she will be a force to be reckoned with at The Championships this year.
She showed no indication that she would start to hold up in the second set, with even more brutal hitting from the baseline. Kontaveit hung on despite facing a break point in the second game, but couldn’t prevent the former French Open champion from taking the edge at 3-1.
Not only had she found great success on the return, but Ostapenko’s serve proved a real weapon in the match as well. She won 80% points off her first serve in the second set and didn’t face a break point as she went on to cruise to her fourth singles trophy.
“I just enjoyed this week so much and I think it’s great to win a title just before Wimbledon – it gives me confidence," she said.
“I was just trying to come in without expectations and to just enjoy the tennis because I know Anett is such a great player and that it was going to be a difficult match. I was really mentally ready for it and I just tried to play my tennis.
“It’s great to have my name next to such great players. Next week I just want to go again without any expectation to not be hard on myself, recover as much as I can and just to enjoy it because I think I’ve got some confidence and now it’s time to show some good tennis at Wimbledon.”