Kaia Kanepi starts Miami tournament with straight set victory

Kaia Kanepi.
Kaia Kanepi. Source: Siim Semiskar/ERR SPORT

Estonian tennis player Kaia Kanepi got off to a good start in a WTA tournament in Miami late on Tuesday, defeating world 80-ranked Lauren Davis in straight sets - 6:3, 7:5.

The meeting lasted an hour and 30 minutes. "It was a very tight contest, especially in the second set, where I was behind in many games and thought there would be a third set," Kanepi admitted after the match.

"If I knew what was behind my recent success, I would have done it much earlier. I got to play a lot in the end of last year and the start of this year and competing helps me feel well," the 35-year old added.

Kanepi started off the first set of the match by winning nine consecutive points, leading to her holding a 3:0 lead. After saving two break points on her own serve, the Estonian extended her lead to 4:0. While it seemed like another breakaway set win for Kanepi, Davis responded by taking her next three breaking point chances and came back to 4:2. The American's efforts fell short however as Kanepi was able to close out the set at 6:3.

The second set did not get off to as good a start for Kanepi however. While she took the first game and also had a chance to extended that lead to two on a break point, Davis was able to hold her serve and instead rattled off three consecutive games to take a 3:1 lead. Kanepi then crawled back to tie the second set, after which the players traded game wins until the game stood at 5:5. The experienced Estonian made quick work and scored four points to take a 6:5 lead, after which she closed out on two match points to take the victory.

Kanepi served up two aces and committed as many double faults. Davis had one ace and six double faults, three of which in the opening game of the match. Kanepi won on two thirds of her first serve points to Davis' 50 percent. Kanepi also played well on her returns, scoring on 50 percent of her first return points and 63.6 percent on second return points.

Kanepi will next face off against 21-year old Kazakshtani Elena Rybakina on Thursday. Kanepi has taken two victories over the young Russian-born Rybakina while the latter was still playing for her birthland. Those two wins were in 2018 however and the young player has improved a lot since.

Anett Kontaveit to face Sorana Cirstea on Thursday

Estonian top tennis player Anett Kontaveit is set to face Romanina 66-rank Sorana Cirstea on Thursday, who took a win over Katrina Scott on Tuesday.

Kontaveit and Cirste will meet for the second time in as many tournaments. The Estonian took a straight set win in a tournament in Dubai to start the month. The two faced off in Dubay in 2020 as well, with Kontaveit then also taking a 2:0 win.

Kontaveit has played in two tournaments in March - advancing to the quarterfinals in a WTA 500 tournament in Doha, defeating recent Aussie Open finalist Jennifer Brady in the process. It took a top-10 world player to stop the Estonian in both Doha and Dubai, Petra Kvitova and Arina Sabalenka, respectively.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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