What can we say when we talk about the world famous “Tennis in the Land” professional women’s tennis tournament. This event was part of the Women’s Tennis Association 250 category of the 2021 WTA Tour. And last year’s Tennis in the Land tournament was the first edition of the tournament to be played in the city of Cleveland, Ohio.
This makes it an important part of the WTA’s tennis season, including the WTA Tour that is comprised of the Grand Slam tournaments, the WTA 1000 tournaments, the WTA 500 tournaments, the WTA 250 tournaments, the Billie Jean King Cup (organized by the ITF), and the year-end championships (the WTA Finals and the WTA Elite Trophy). It was also part of the 2021 Summer Olympic Games which were rescheduled from 2020 due to the pandemic.
What’s at Stake
As of 2021, WTA 250 tournaments had events with prize money of approximately $250,000. And tournaments including Tennis in the Land award ranking points, with 280 pints up for grabs to the winner. As a point of comparison, larger tournaments like the Grand Slam award 2,000 points while theWTA finals award up to 1,500 points.
As you can guess, the athletes that come out to Jacobs Pavilion are competing for prestige, ranking points, and big cash prizes. So many hopeful and seasoned pros come out to the venue to compete in this all-important event!
About Jacobs Pavilion Stadium
Jacobs Pavilion, which is the current home for Tennis in the Land, was originally built as Nautica Stage. It later became known as Scene Pavilion, The Plain Dealer Pavilion, and the Nautica Pavilion, until it came to its current name.
It is an incredible open-air amphitheater located on the west bank of The Flats in Cleveland, Ohio. And it is part of the Nautica Entertainment Complex.
It first opened to the public in 1987 and existed as a prime destination for events. But as time went on, it required updating and renovations to keep up with the needs for a changing audience. So plans were made to renovate it in the early 2000s, and it was renamed “Scene Pavilion” in 2003 after these renovations were done, These renovations included the addition of a canopy to enhance the comfort of guests during certain events.
The venue today offers bleacher and festival style seating and is notable for its gorgeous view of the Cuyahoga River, the lights of downtown Cleveland and the picturesque lighted bridges of the area. Each year, this venue typically holds 15-20 events including a concert season that begins in early summer and stretches on through to early fall.
The venue quickly earned considerable fame for being a wonderful location for events, which likely led to it being used for the 2021 Tennis in the Land tournament. And this year’s tournament will similarly be held at the venue.
2021 Tennis in the Land Tournament
Since 2021 was the first edition of the Tennis in the Land Tournament to take place in Cleveland, it had to be big. And it was positively delivered in a six day event that started on August 22 and ended on August 28.
The tournament drew 32 players for the singles brackets and 16 for the doubles bracket with a prize pool totaling up to $236,000. It was played on the classic Hard outdoor court located at Jacobs Pavilion.
There were many excellent players who competed in the singles brackets, and tennis fans had plenty of exciting battles to see. But the champion of the tournament was none other than Estonia Anett Kontaveit who defeated Romania Irina-Camelia Begu, 7–6(7–5), 6–4.
What makes Anett Kontaveit stand out is how she has been ranked as high as world No. 5 by the WTA, which she achieved early in 2022 on February 28. This made her the highest -ranked Estonian player in history. And as she qualified for the 2021 WTA Finals, she was also the first Estonian player to participate at the year end championships. And during that championships, she reached the finals. She has also reached No. 95 in the doubles rankings, which she achieved back on March 2, 2020.
As for her career, she has won six singles titles on the WTA tour, as well as eleven singles and five doubles on the ITF Circuit. She competed in one Premier Mandatory semifinal in 2019’s Miami open as well as the finals of two Premiere 5/WTA 1000 events, he 2018 Wuhan Open and the 2022 Qatar Total Open.
With all these, sports analysts who watched her rise to stardom weren’t surprised when she reached her maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal at the 2020 Australian Open. Nor were they surprised to learn that she won the Estonian Championships in 2009, making her the youngest player to do so, a feat that she repeated the following year in 2010.
As for the Doubles tournaments, the big winners were Japanese players Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara.
Shuko Aoyama (born December 19, 1987) first became a professional tennis player after graduating from Waseda University. She quickly made her mark and gained a career-high singles ranking of World No. 4 on February 28, 2022. She had predominantly been a doubles player and won 17 doubles titles on the WTA Tour. Her most frequent successes came in the Grand Slam at Wimbledon when she reached the semifinals in 2013 and 2021. She has also won four singles and 30 doubles titles on the ITF Women’s Circuit.
Her partner, Ena Shibahara (born February 12, 1998), has a career-high WTA ranking of World No. 416 in singles, which she achieved in August 2019 and world No. 4 in doubles, achieved on March 21, 2022. Before July 2019, she played and represented her country of birth, the United States.