World No. 115 Kaia Kanepi admitted her hand was shaking late in the match against No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka. Kanepi, a former world No. 15, surprised world No. 2 Sabalenka 5-7 6-2 7-6 (7) to reach the Australian Open quarterfinal.
"I was really tight," Kanepi said afterwards, per the WTA website. "My hand was shaking when I started serving. I didn't make any first serves in, and that added to the pressure. "First, I tried to hit [the serve] a bit harder with more spin.
Then it didn't go in. Then I started to hit a bit slower. I tried different things to think about than the serve, but I don't think any of them helped. "I almost didn't [regroup]. I guess I was just lucky at the end.
Kanepi didn't pay the price for blowing multiple chances
After failing to convert any of her two consecutive break points in the 11th game of the first set, Kanepi lost her serve in the following game as Sabalenka won a tight opener.
Kanepi responded well to losing the first set as she started the second set with back-to-back breaks before serving out for a decider in the eighth game. Kanepi then started the third set with a break but got broken back in the eighth game.
Kanepi claimed her second break of the set in the ninth game but failed to serve out for the match in the following game as Sabalenka saved four match points to level the set at five games apiece. The two players were tied at 7-7 in the tie-break before Kanepi won three consecutive points to seal a three-set win.
Kanepi plays next Alize Cornet. "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," said Kanepi. "What I expect is to play good."