Kaia Kanepi is through to the second round of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, after beating Swiss player Stefanie Voegele in three sets, 7:5, 5:7, 6:4 on Tuesday, in a very closely fought match, ERR's online Estonian sports news reports.
The game, played on Court 9 at SW19, started later than the anticipated 1.00 p.m., Estonian time, finishing around 3.30 p.m.
Kanepi took an early lead in the first set 3:2, only for Voegele, ranked 97th in the world, to catch up, eventually taking the set 7:5. The second set turned out to be the same in reverse, with Voegele almost clinching things at 6:5, but Kanepi was able to rescue the next game and break the Swiss player's serve, to take the second set, once again 7:5.
The tie-breaker set, again, was very close, with Kanepi breaking the Swiss player's serve in the ninth game, to bring things to 5:4. The next game was one step forward and one back for both players, as Kanepi won two matchpoints, only for them to be neutralized by Voegele. However, it was third time lucky for the Estonian, winning the next matchpoint, and the set 6:4, and thus the match.
As might be expected from such an even contest, both players were about on a par according to most stats, though Kanepi hit 62 winners to Voegele's 23. The latter made up the difference by dropping far fewer points in unforced errors, 36 to the Estonian's 61.
Kanepi, ranked 76th in the world, has twice reached the Wimbledon quarter finals, in 2010 and 2013, and had played Voegele twice before, with a win apiece, in 2011 and 2013. The game was the first time they had faced off on grass, however.
Kanepi, 34, from Haapsalu, did not play in either of the "warm up" Wimbledon tournaments in Birmingham and Eastbourne, England, though she defeated Italian player Corinna Denton in straight sets at an exhibition tournament in Liverpool. She also reached the last 16 of May's French Open at Roland Garros, ultimately losing to Petra Martić (Croatia).
Kanepi faces either Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia (WTA 46th), or Belinda Bencic (Switzerland) in the second round.
She joins top Estonian player and Wimbledon 20th seed Anett Kontaveit in the second round; the latter won her first round encounter with American Shelby Rogers 6:0, 4:6, 6:3, on Monday, and faces Heather Watson (U.K.) in the second round. Kontaveit is also entered in the ladies' doubles, partnered with Daria Kasatkina (Russia).
Top Estonian men's player Jürgen Zopp failed to qualify for the main event.
Editor: Andrew Whyte