Kanepi's Tokyo Revival Sends Wozniacki Out
Published September 28, 2011 12:00
TOKYO, Japan - It hasn't been the best year for Kaia Kanepi, starting just outside the Top 20 and now just outside the Top 40, but the Estonian trailblazer put her name back on the map at the Toray Pan Pacific Open on Wednesday evening, shocking the No.1 player in the world, Caroline Wozniacki.
Kanepi, who has fallen from No.22 to No.43 since the start of the year, is always a big threat to the top players with her big game - she had five Top 10 wins to her name going into the match. And she put all her best on display for a 75 16 64 victory over the No.1-seeded defending champion, rallying from a break down to take the first set and two breaks down to take the third set.
"I'm very excited about the victory, and about how I played in the match. I really fought for it," Kanepi said. "I always believe if I play my best I can beat anyone. But I just have to make sure I'm playing my best when I go out there."
After going 0-3 in the grass court season, Kanepi sat all of her pre-US Open tournaments out with an Achilles injury, the absence accounting for much of the ranking fall - but that seems to be gone. "I played through Achilles tendonitis since March but had to withdraw from tournaments in the summer. I had to take a break. But it feels good now - I can practice at 100% now, which is key."
Although she is halfway across the world, Kanepi does have a piece of home here - Estonian sumo wrestler Baruto Kaito, who was the first Estonian ever to reach the top division in the sport in Japan. "We're friends. Every time I come to Tokyo I try to meet up with him. This year I went to see him twice, and I spent the day with him one time. He's very famous in Estonia, and here in Japan. It was so exciting to watch him wrestle, the most exciting day of my year!"
Earlier, a rematch of the Wimbledon final was set, with No.2 seed Maria Sharapova and No.5 seed Petra Kvitova winning tricky two-setters. Kvitova beat Vania King, 61 76(4); Sharapova followed after with a 76(4) 76(4) win over No.13 seed Julia Goerges. Both players had to save set points to win their second sets - Sharapova faced one at 4-5, while Kvitova faced three at 5-6.