The Runner Sports

Resurgent Kaia Kanepi Back Into Fourth Round At The US Open

Kaia Kanepi, ranked No. 418 in the world, finds herself back in the fourth round of the US Open. Kanepi is a former top 15 player that has been plagued with injuries throughout her career. Kanepi has endured injuries in her back, achilles, Plantar fasciitis, and the Epstein-Barr virus. Winning two low-level ITF tournaments, the player from Estonia has only competed in four events all year. She missed out on Wimbledon losing in the second round of qualifying. But Kanepi has always been a tenacious fighter and dangerous opponent to play against, so the tennis community knew a strong comeback was imminent.

Kanepi is a dangerous floater in any draw because she is skilled in all aspects of the game. While her serve is not 120 mph, it is placed well, and can get up to 110 mph. Kanepi has powerful, consistent groundstrokes, utilizing her forehand as a weapon; to top it off, Kanepi is also not afraid to come to the net. The Estonian saves her best tennis for the Grand Slams. She has reached the quarterfinals at every Grand Slam except the Australian Open. Three years ago was the last time Kanepi was in the fourth round in New York. As you can see, since then the injuries have kept her away from the sport. However, she always makes a solid comeback, which speaks for the natural ability of the Estonian. At the age of 32, Kanepi also has nothing to lose. The biggest regret would be if she did not try, but look what she can do. Kanepi told WTA Insider that for three months the injury was there, and she did not care if she got treatment or not.

Battling through three rounds of qualifying for the US Open, Kanepi took on former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone in the first round. Recovering from a horrific first set, Kanepi won 0-6, 6-4, 6-2. She then easily beat Yanina Wickmayer 6-4, 6-2 in a rematch of their 2010 fourth round at the US Open. The third round proved to be an intense rollercoaster, but Kanepi used her experience to come back from 2-4 down in the third set to beat Naomi Osaka 6-3, 2-6, 7-5. Awaiting Kanepi in the fourth round is the young and talented Daria Kasatkina of Russia. Kanepi has been in this position before, it is just another fourth round. Maybe this is the tournament she breaks through to her first Grand Slam semifinal. With a game like Kanepi’s, anything is possible.

Conrad Ellis

Conrad Ellis

Stevenson University graduate, class of 2016
Played tennis for 14 years and counting, favorite shot is forehand
Conrad Ellis