Kanepi Impressive In Comeback Match

Playing her first match in more than six months after battling a right heel injury, Kaia Kanepi took just 54 minutes to blaze through her opening match at the BNP Paribas Katowice Open.

Published April 09, 2013 12:00

Kanepi Impressive In Comeback Match
Kaia Kanepi

KATOWICE, Poland - Kaia Kanepi made a very successful return to the courts after six months out on Tuesday night, rolling past Sandra Zaniewska in the first round of the BNP Paribas Katowice Open.

The last time Kanepi played, at Tokyo last September, she was sitting at a career-high No.15 - but between then and now she didn't play a single match due to a right heel injury. She is now No.37.

Even more impressive, then, that the No.6-seeded Estonian came out playing so strongly in her first match in over half a year, needing just 54 minutes to take out Polish wildcard Zaniewska, 61 61.

"I was a bit nervous at the beginning but it wasn't too bad," Kanepi said after the match. "It felt good to play again. My mistakes didn't bother me as much as they would have when I was in top form. I just went easy on myself out there and I'm looking forward to my next match here in Katowice."

Next up for Kanepi is Czech wildcard Karolina Pliskova, who won her opener on Monday. "I'm not sure I've played against Pliskova before. I can't say much other than she has a big serve and hits hard."

Kanepi has actually played Pliskova before, though it was five years ago, and Pliskova won.

Kanepi was one of three seeds in action but the only one to survive, with No.5 seed Alizé Cornet falling in the first match of the day to Slovakian qualifier Anna Schmiedlova, 63 60, and No.4 seed Julia Goerges having to stop midway through the third set of her match against good friend Jill Craybas due to dizziness, the American qualifier moving through with a 67(5) 63 41 retirement victory.

Three of the other five matches on the schedule were marathons, lasting well over two hours, one going over three hours: Shahar Peer was a few points from losing in both the second and third sets but managed to get by Tsvetana Pironkova in a three-hour, one-minute battle, 57 76(4) 76(4); Irina-Camelia Begu fought off three match points down 75 54 but made it past Mathilde Johansson, 57 76(5) 61; and Mandy Minella also survived some tense moments but made it by Vesna Dolonc, 36 76(4) 62.

The other winners were Kiki Bertens, who powered past Lara Arruabarrena in 61 minutes, 61 61, and Maria Elena Camerin, who won 13 points in a row to close out Jana Cepelova in straights, 76(2) 63.

Seven more matches are on the schedule for Wednesday. They include the last three first round matches - including Petra Kvitova, Roberta Vinci and Sabine Lisicki's openers, as well as the first four second round matches - including No.3 seed Klara Zakopalova and No.6 seed Kanepi's matches.

Zakopalova is writing the WTA Blog from Katowice this week - read Tuesday's entry here!

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