Kaia Kanepi is through to round two of the US Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, after beating Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 2:6, 7:6 (4), 6:2 in a lengthy encounter which lasted two hours and 22 minutes.
The Kazakh player, ranked 33rd in the world – 37 places higher than Kanepi – started well and, from an initial deficit of 1:2 in games, put together five in a row without answer from the Estonian to take the set, in a little over half-an-hour.
The second set was a different story, lasting an hour and six minutes and close from the outset. Kanepi had two set points with the scoreline at 5:4, but Putintseva rescued both and went on to take things to a tie break. Kanepi raced to 4:0 however in the tie, to take the second set.
The deciding set saw Kanepi, 36, from Haapsalu, take the initiative to break her opponent's serve twice, in the fourth and eighth games, wrapping it up 6:2. Kanepi won over 80 percent of both her first and second service points and committed just four unforced errors in set three.
Over the entire match, Kanepi hit four aces, and committed four double faults.
The result also continues a trend this season for Kanepi to both win in three sets, which she has accomplished in seven of nine meetings, and to turn-around matches in her favor after losing the opening set, which she has done four times including Monday.
After the match, Kanepi told portal Delfi (link in Estonian) that it took her a while to find her traditional form as: "At the start of the game, I felt insecure, as I hadn't played well for a long time. I didn't trust myself and my shots, I was brittle. It took time to find my confidence...the time went by, but I found it."
"Due to my experience and age, I don't get as much anxiety in a grand slam tournament as I used to. A tournament is a tournament," she added.
Kanepi faces 18-year-old Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez, ranked three spots ahead of her at 73rd in the world, in round two. Fernandez overcame Ana Konjuh of Croatia in two sets in the opening round.
Anett Kontaveit is in action Tuesday in the U.S. Open, kicking off her tournament off the back of her Cleveland WTA win by facing 2011 winner Samantha Stosur (Australia, 186th in the world).
Editor: Andrew Whyte