Kaia Kanepi through to US Open round two
Kaia Kanepi won her US Open round one encounter with Czech player Tereza Martincova in two sets, 7:6(4), 6:3 on Tuesday, setting herself up with a round two fixture with Belarusian player Arina Sabalenka at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Kanepi, ranked 34th in the world and 10 years Martincova's senior, had met once before, with things going in favor of the Czech player, now ranked 71st by the WTA, in two sets, 6:2, 6:3 in Moscow in 2019.
Martincova had the better form of the pair going into the game, with three wins and two losses in her previous five competitive matches, compared with the Estonian's two wins and three losses.
One of Martincova's losses was against Anett Kontaveit, though Estonia's top player, and world number two, had to play three sets to take victory in Cincinnati earlier this month.
Kanepi reached the final of the Washington WTA250 tournament early on this month, losing to Lumdilla Samsonova (Russia), though went out in round one in Cincinnati and in Toronto. This year's U.S. Open is the 37-year-old native of Haapsalu's fifteenth of her long career; her career best progress at the tournament is the quarter-finals, which she attained twice, in 2010 and 2017.
Kanepi has also been nursing an abs injury for around a month.
The Czech player had played five times in the U.S. Open and gone out in round one each time, and has only progressed beyond round one of a grand slam event three times in her career so far.
In set one, after going down 2:0 Kanepi pulled things back to 2:2. The set remained evenly matched after the Estonian went 3:2 down and nearly lost another game, only to rescue her serve. Kanepi won the ensuing tie-break.
In set two, Kanepi broke in game one and want 3:0 up, then 4:1 up. While Martincova saved two break points, Kanepi held on to take the set 6:3 on the first matchpoint presented to her.
The entire encounter lasted a little over an hour and a half.
Kanepi served three aces and committed two double faults to Martincova's four and two, but the Estonian took two out of four break points, compared with Martincova's solitary break point success out of five chances.
Kanepi plays Sabalenka, ranked 6th in the world, in round two; the latter overcame local player Catherine Harrison, who had come via qualifying to the main table, in straight sets, 6.1, 6:3.
In the head-to-head, Kanepi is 2:0 up, both Australia - most recently in the round of 16 at the main grand slam event early on this year, plus in a warmer tournament the year before.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte