Kaia Kanepi is in her first Australian Open quarterfinal after upsetting world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(7) in the fourth round.
She finished with 30 winners and 30 unforced errors. Sabalenka, meanwhile, contributed 36 winners and 46 unforced errors – including 15 double faults, which she has struggled with all tournament.
Never count @KanepiKaia out 🙅♀️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— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 24, 2022
Never count @KanepiKaia out 🙅♀️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
Kanepi took a 5-2 lead in the third before Sabalenka battled back to take an 8-7 lead. But a backhand into the net enabled Kanepi to convert her fifth matchpoint and take the win.
“I almost didn’t [regroup],” Kanepi said. “I guess I was just lucky at the end. So close.”
At 36 years old, Kanepi is the oldest player remaining in the draw. She’ll play against the youngest in No. 7 Iga Swiatek, who took down Sorana Cirstea in three sets in the fourth round. It will be their first meeting.
“I haven’t watched her, I never played her, and I don’t know how her ball feels, so we’ll see when I play her,” she said of Swiatek. “What I expect is to play good.”
With the win, the former world No. 15 has completed the career set of Grand Slam quarterfinals, having advanced to the last eight at Roland Garros in 2008 and 2012, Wimbledon in 2010 and 2013 and the US Open in 2010 and 2017. Until Monday, she had not made an Australian Open quarterfinal.