The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has chosen the matches between Estonia's Kaia Kanepi and Arina Sabalenka of Belarus as amongst the most exciting of the year.
"Even though they only played each other twice in 2022, Sabalenka and Kanepi provided enthralling drama at the 2022 Grand Slam tournaments," the WTA said in its review, adding, that when the two players meet, tennis fans can only expect the unexpected.
The first time Kanepi played Sabalenka this year was in fourth round of the Australian Open on January 24. Thinking she had won the deciding set tie-breaker 9-7, Kanepi prematurely celebrated victory in the match, before realizing she required one more point, which she then managed to get at the next time of asking. Kanepi's win 5-7, 6-2, 7-6, put her in the quarter finals of the Australian Open for the first time and was her ninth career Grand Slam victory over a player in the WTA top ten.
The two players met again in the second round of the US Open on September 1. On that occasion, Kanepi stormed into a comfortable lead, winning the first set 6-2, and going 5-1 in set two. However, the Estonian failed to convert two match points, as Sabalenka launched an incredible comeback to take the match 2-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4.
Also named among the WTA's top three most exciting contests of 2022 was the rivalry between Sabalenka and WTA number 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland, and the matches when Tokyo Olympic champion Belinda Bencic (Switzerland) faced Russia's Veronika Kudermetova.
Never count @KanepiKaia out ♀️— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 24, 2022
At 36 years of age, world No.115 upsets world No.2 Aryna Sabalenka 5-7 6-2 7-6 to reach the #AusOpen quarterfinals for the very first time.#AO2022 pic.twitter.com/358aIfkf1R
Editor: Michael Cole