Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Spotlight On ... Kaia Kanepi

Kaia Kanepi was a surprise quarter-finalist at Roland Garros this year. Her scalps included Anabel Medina Garrigues and top 10 player Anna Chakvetadze. She eventually ran out of steam against Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova, who went on to lose in the semi-finals.
Kaia is not a particularly new name on the WTA tour (she was ranked number 40 in 2007), but this was by far her best showing at a Grand Slam. She reached a WTA final in Belgium at the end of 2006, losing to Kim Clijsters. In her career, she was wins over Flavia Pennetta and Patty Schynder.

Unlike most of the other players so far in the “Spotlight On …” series, Kaia has left the ITF circuit behind her and moved up to the WTA tour on a full-time basis. Much of this is to do with the fact that she is currently sitting at 49 in the world rankings (which will rise again on Monday when the new rankings are released). Despite being a solid top 50 player, few people would have predicated that she would reach the last eight of a Grand Slam!

In 2008, she has reached the semi-finals of WTA Acapulco (lost to Flavia Pennetta) on clay, the quarter-finals of WTA Sydney (lost to Justine Henin) and Vina del Mar (lost to Flavia Pennetta), and the fourth round of Miami (lost to Serena Williams).

Following on from Roland Garros 2008, Kaia has reached a career-high ranking of #27, which she achieved in October 2008. Her Grand Slam results have been fairly average, with a first round exit at Wimbledon and a second round exit at the US Open. However, she has pushed her ranking up courtesy of results at other events. Asian tournaments have been particularly profitable for Kaia. At the Beijing Olympics, she reached the third round (beating top 20 player Flavia Pennetta in the first round), the quarter-finals of WTA Tokyo (l. to 4th seed Dinara Safina), the semi-finals of WTA Seoul (l. to top seed Maria Kirilenko) and the final of the WTA Japan Open (l. to top seed Caroline Wozniacki).

No comments:

Post a Comment