Qualifier Kaia Kanepi Reaches US Open Quarterfinals
(September 4, 2017) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – In a US Open filled with comeback stories, add Kaia Kanepi to the list. Ranked No. 418 in the world, Estonia’s Kanepi became the first qualifier since 1981 to reach the quarterfinals of the US Open. Kanepi fought back from breaks in each set to beat Russia’s Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 6-4 in Louis Armstrong Stadium on Monday.
The 32-year-old was absent from the tour for much of the past two years with foot problems and battling a virus which is a precursor to mononucleosis.
Twelve months ago, Kanepi was figuring out what she was going to do with her life. She began playing tennis again in January, she had stopped the previous June.
“I started doing fitness in December with a discus thrower. Then I did it for a few months already and my feet got better. I didn’t feel pain anymore. And then I thought I have already done some training. Then why not try to come back.”
Asked if she considered retiring, she said: “I wasn’t sure, actually. I didn’t set any time for myself what will I decide at the end. I just tried to live normal life and enjoy it and slowly figuring out.”
What made her want to return to the sport? “I missed adrenaline when I am at the tournaments,” she said. “I missed winning. And I missed that feeling when you play well.”
She made it into the qualifying due to a protected ranked.
“I didn’t expect that,” Kanepi said of her win. “I hope to qualify and keep going, see what happens with my tennis. Yeah, it’s pretty amazing where I am now compared to where I was few months ago.”
“(I’m) amazed that I’m that good.”
The last woman to have such a low ranking to reach the quarterfinals was Kim Clijsters back in 2009, when she had no ranking, coming out of retirement.
This is the sixth quarterfinal she’s reached in her career, the last coming four years ago at Wimbledon. She’s 0-5 in major quarterfinals.
She plays Madison Keys in the quarterfianls. She beat Elina Svitolina in teh second night match. 7-6, 1-6, 6-4