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Tennis: Li, Kontaveit share ‘hard quarantine’ WTA trophy

By Nick Mulvenney

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Anett Kontaveit and Ann Li shared the Grampians Trophy on Sunday after time ran out to complete the Australian Open warm-up tournament arranged to give match practice to the players who endured 14 days of hard quarantine in Melbourne.

All players arriving in Australia for the year’s first Grand Slam were obliged to spend two weeks in hotel isolation but 72 of them were restricted entirely to their rooms after passengers on their flights tested positive for COVID-19.

The Grampians Trophy was originally scheduled to conclude with a final on Sunday but a positive test for a worker at one of the quarantine hotels resulted in Thursday’s play being called off.

Both of Sunday’s semi-finals were decided by a super tiebreaker with Estonian Kontaveit saving two match points to beat Greek Maria Sakkari 2-6 6-3 (11-9) and Li prevailing 7-6(5) 6-7(5) (10-6) over fellow American Jennifer Brady.

“I’m not sure these two weeks of being in the room are totally behind me, but I feel it was definitely worth playing these matches and now I’m really glad I got them in,” said Kontaveit, the world number 23.

“If you haven’t been able to serve a single serve for two weeks it’s always going to be difficult when you start hitting. No matter how cautious you are, how slowly you take it, it’s always going to be a little rough on the body when you start again.”

World number 99 Li said she was happy just to be playing.

“Definitely a new situation coming here and having to do two weeks of hard quarantine but I’m proud of the work I did in the room, I tried to work out a lot and shadow hit against the mattress,” the 20-year-old said.

“I think this year is going to be good for me.”

The players will both receive the prize money they would have pocketed from winning the title outright, the WTA said, and accepted the trophy together on court three.

“I’ve never actually met Ann before and I watched that match against Jenny and I was really impressed with her game,” Kontaveit added.

“Of course, I would have liked to have played the final, but it is what it is and definitely nice to sort of share the trophy. She was lovely as well, so it was a nice moment.”

Editing by Peter Rutherford

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