Kaia Kanepi and Anett Kontaveit both took victories in their respective second round matches of the Australian Open, advancing to the third round of the first grand slam tournament of the 2021 season.
Kanepi easily handles world fourth-ranked Sofia Kenin
Kaia Kanepi's match against American player Sofia Kenin ended with the Estonian taking her 13th career victory over an opponent ranked in the top-10 of the world.
Kanepi saved three break balls in her first serve game and eventually reached a break of her own, taking a 3:1 lead in the opening set. Kenin, last year's Aussie Open winner, had four break point chances after, but Kanepi was able to fend those off as well, finally taking the first set 6:3.
Kanepi then headed off to a good start in the second set, taking a 2:1 lead and eventually led 5:2 after seven games. The Estonian, good on her serve in the early hours of Thursday, then capped off the match with a solid final game, closing the match out at 2:0 (6:3, 6:2).
Kanepi, having won 20 of her last 22 matches, told Estonian journalists post-match: "The serve helped a lot in me playing well overall. Relatively agressive and did not commit too many mistakes, I think. I felt normal."
Kanepi served up ten aces and committed two double faults, winning a whopping 80 percent of her first serve points. Kenin tallied up one ace and three double faults. Kanepi won 43 percent of her break points, Kenin however went zero for seven. The Estonian's fastest serve on the match was 180 km/h and she won 65 of the total points.
This win marks Kanepi's third career appearance in the third round of the Australian Open and she will face off against Croatian 33-rank Donna Vekic, who defeated Nadia Podoroska in straight sets. The Estonian and Croatian have faced off once before with the 24-year old taking their 2019 match-up 7:5, 6:3.
"I don't really like comparing anymore, I have learned that playing so many years tennis," she laughed when asked how this win rated among her other notable victories. "I'll take one match and one tournament at a time and it all depends how I feel, and how the opponent plays and so on," Kanepi added, according to the Australian Open's website. Highlights of the 35-year old Estonian's victory are available here.
Kontaveit also through after three sets against Heather Watson
Anett Kontaveit's (WTA 23rd) second round meeting against British player Heather Watson did not go as swimmingly as Kanepi's concurrent triumph, finally taking a three-set victory after two hours and six minutes.
After Kontaveit started the match off with with a 4:1 lead, the former world 39-ranked Watson rallied off three consecutive games to tie tha affair at four all. The two then traded games up to 6:6, after which Watson won a tightly contested tiebreaker to take the initial set.
The match continued very tightly in the second set with the players trading games until another 4:4 situation. The 24-year old Kontaveit then took a 40:0 ninth game and added a solid final game to take the second set 6:4, sending the match into a third deciding set.
Again, the third set started with the Estonian and the Brit trading games with Watson taking a 2:1 game lead in the decider. Kontaveit then tied the set and after a tight fifth game win, she did not look back and took the last three games of the match in less than ten minutes, finishing with a 2:1 (6:7, 6:4, 6:2) victory.
Kontaveit finished the match with ten aces and three double faults, Watson served up six aces and committed three double faults as well. The Estonian won on five of her seven break points and had 46 winners to Watson's 26.
After the tough match, Kontaveit shouted out her mother, who was watching the match in the early hours of the Estonian morning.
Kontaveit is now looking at a third-round meeting with American Shelby Rogers, who took a straight-set victory over Olga Danilovic. Kontaveit has faced the American on two occasions and has victories from both prior meetings.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste