Kanepi Blazes Into QFs, Top Seed Stosur Out

Kaia Kanepi and Iveta Benesova both pulled off upsets Wednesday, Benesova's the biggest yet.

Published January 04, 2012 12:00

Kanepi Blazes Into QFs, Top Seed Stosur Out
Kaia Kanepi

BRISBANE, Australia - When Kaia Kanepi is on it's tough to stop her, a trend that was as strong as ever on Wednesday as the Estonian trailblazer blazed past No.7 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second round, 60 63.

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Kanepi, who won eight of her last 11 matches on the WTA in 2011 - including a win over reigning No.1 Caroline Wozniacki in Tokyo - needed just 22 minutes to win the first set against Pavlyuchenkova then picked it up again at the very end of the second set, breaking for 5-3 then serving the match out at love, emphatically too - she hit aces on the first three points of that game.

"I was playing very well today," Kanepi said. "I started really well. Maybe my serve was the key today, and I was also feeling comfortable from the baseline. Thankfully we had the roof and the shade because it's a hot day today!"

Awaiting Kanepi in the quarterfinals is No.2 seed Andrea Petkovic. The two have met once, with Kanepi winning a three-setter in Dubai last year.

"Andrea is in very good shape. She's never easy to play," Kanepi declared. "I'm just excited to play again. I'm playing well. We'll see how it goes."

Pavlyuchenkova wasn't the only seed to fall Wednesday, with No.1 seed and Australian icon Samantha Stosur suffering a shock 64 62 loss to Iveta Benesova. Stosur had won all four of their previous meetings in straight sets but this time couldn't get it going, struggling particularly with the Benesova serve - Benesova lost just 12 points in nine service games, never facing a break point.

"Iveta played quite well, but I probably didn't do what I set out to do," Stosur said. "As the match went on it got harder and harder to try and stop what was happening. Her serve comes in a little bit different angle and she hits her spots quite well. I certainly didn't feel like I did what I was capable of, but I always want to give credit to an opponent and I think she played very well today.

"Hopefully it was just a bit of a bad day and I'll bounce back next week and the week after and play a lot better, and keep getting better."

Benesova's win over the No.6-ranked Stosur was her fourth Top 10 win, her first three at Charleston in 2005 (No.10 Vera Zvonareva), the Australian Open in 2006 (No.5 Mary Pierce) and Montréal in 2010 (No.3 Jelena Jankovic).

Next for Benesova is No.5 seed Kim Clijsters (Clijsters leads the series 1-0).

The other two seeds in action both put together comfortable wins, although there was some late drama in one match: No.4 seed Serena Williams was up 62 51 on Bojana Jovanovski when Jovanovski staged a late surge, closing to 62 54 and even holding game point for 5-5 - but Williams ended it, 62 64. No.6 seed Jankovic followed with a 63 62 win over Russian qualifier Nina Bratchikova.

Williams rolled her ankle during her second round match and planned on having it checked later. "If my movement's not right, tomorrow's going to be difficult," the American said. "Daniela's a good player and she's been having a great year so far - or last year I think she did really well, she had some big wins. She has been playing really consistently so I can't go out there at 20% or 30%."

The 13-time Grand Slam champion later withdrew from the tournament.

"I'm disappointed to have to pull out of the Brisbane International," she said. "I have been to hospital and it has been confirmed that I have a left ankle sprain that I probably shouldn't play on. I'm going to take a couple of days off - not too many - and see how I feel. I'm still hopeful of playing the Australian Open. It was such an unexpected end to the tournament; I didn't expect to be getting an MRI today. I've had a great time here in Brisbane - the tournament is great, the fans are fantastic and hopefully I'll see them again next year."

Next up for Jankovic is No.3 seed Francesca Schiavone (Jankovic leads the series 4-2, but they split their two 2011 meetings, both tough three-setters).

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