By Erik Gudris | @ATNTennis | Saturday, August 6, 2022
Kaia Kanepi powered past Daria Saville to reach her first ever Washington DC final.
Photo credit: Patrick Smith/Getty
Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi showed off the powerful and pinpoint shots that has made her one the WTA’s most dangerous players en route to her first career final in Washington DC
Kanepi, now age 37, has defeated some of the biggest names in tennis at the majors throughout her career. She owns 19 wins over seeded players in the first week of a major. At the Australian Open this past January she upset Aryna Sabalenka on her way to her first elite eight in Melbourne, having reached nine Major quarterfinals overall.
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The sixth-seeded Kanepi easily defeated the Australian Daria Saville 6-3, 6-1 to reach the Citi Open WTA 250 final.
A ruthless performance from the Estonian 😮💨
— wta (@WTA) August 6, 2022
“I think I played my best match today. Everything was very smooth for me. I think I hit a lot of lines (smiling). It’s tough to do it every day, so I think today was a good day for me,” Kanepi said afterwards.
On yet another hot and muggy Washington DC summer day, it was Kanepi who came out blazing early. The former World No.15 jumped out to a quick 3-0 opening lead with Saville barely able to win points.
Saville managed to get on the scoreboard and started finding her range. Still trailing later at 4-2, Saville appeared to tweak her back. She later took an off court medical time out but returned to resume the match.
Kanepi, currently ranked World No. 37, resumed control of the match later on while ahead 5-3. On Saville’s next service game she struck a powerful deep return to give herself set point. A strong backhand then drew an error from Saville giving Kanepi the first set 6-3.
Kanepi continued her dominance in the second set with powerful yet pinpoint accuracy on both forehand and backhand sides. With a massive forehand, Kanepi earned a service break for 3-1. The Estonian broke to love late in the set with another huge forehand to take a 5-1 lead.
Soon, Kanepi sealed the 6-3, 6-1 win to her first final of the season.
Kanepi dominated the match with her own serve winning 73% of first serve points and 68% of second serve points.
Having one of her best seasons since 2013 in terms of numbers of wins, Kanepi attributes it to better scheduling and taking more time off between events.
“I have played consistently well, I think. And some places where I wasn’t used to play well I played well this year, like Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami. Indian Wells, especially. Miami I have played well. Yeah, I think good scheduling and taking my time to get used to the conditions everywhere I go.”
Kanepi now goes in search of her fifth career WTA title on Sunday against Liudmila Samsonova. The World No. 60 Samsonova breezed past lucky loser Xiyu Wang 6-1 6-1 to reach Sunday’s final.