Australian Open: Iga Swiatek survives Kaia Kanepi test to reach SF

Swiatek didn't make it easy on herself against the 115th ranked Kanepi

by Abbey Johnson
Australian Open: Iga Swiatek survives Kaia Kanepi test to reach SF

Iga Swiatek outlasted Kaia Kanepi in a three-hour slugfest to reach the semi-finals of the 2022 Australian Open. The Pole came from a set down for the second consecutive round, going on to claim a 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-3 win. Intense groundstrokes were punctuated by serving hiccups for both players throughout the match.

Swiatek, especially, was bothered on her serve, going on to hit 12 double faults. At the start of the match, the Pole’s serving woes coupled with Kanepi’s forceful shot-making helped the latter secure a break in the first set.

In the ninth game, on her serve, Swiatek saved four set points of her own, eventually going on to hold her serve with some good hitting of her own and some errors coming off Kanepi’s racquet. The Estonian carried the momentum of winning the opening set into the second set, breaking Swiatek right away to get a 1-0 lead.

However, she wasn’t able to consolidate and handed the break right back to Swiatek. This exchange of breaks propelled a slight change in the direction of the wind blowing in the match.

Australian Open: Iga Swiatek's firsts at Melbourne Park continue

The second set onwards, Swiatek began to step into the baseline and pick up the ball earlier and in doing so, began to rush Kanepi who started to mistime her shots as a result.

A second break on Kanepi’s serve in the fourth game gave Swiatek a 3-1 gain which she further consolidated to 4-1 after holding her serve. However, her serving woes set her back again in the seventh game and Kanepi was able to bring the set back on serve at four-all.

Eventually, in the tie-break, Kanepi’s errors became one too many and Swiatek won it 7-2 to level the match. The deciding set was dictated by Swiatek even as Kanepi’s game all but deserted her. With the latter’s shots going wide and long, Swiatek was able to gain more leverage on her serve, despite handing over a break back to Kanepi in the fourth game.

In the eighth game, serving for the match, Swiatek lost her serve without even bringing up one match point but as had been the theme of the match, raised three on Kanepi’s serve in the ninth game, converting on the second following an unforced error of Kanepi’s backhand.

Iga Swiatek had 31 winners four fewer than Kanepi’s 35 and 50 unforced errors, a dozen fewer than Kanepi’s 62. In the semi-finals of the Australian Open, the 20-year-old will meet Danielle Collins.

Australian Open Iga Swiatek Kaia Kanepi