Swiatek controls emotions to survive Kanepi and book semi-final spot


MELBOURNE, Jan 26 (Reuters) – French Open winner Iga Swiatek managed to temper her frustrations and rally from a set and a breakdown in brutal heat to defeat the Estonian Kaia Kanepi 4-6 7-6(2) 6-3 on Wednesday to reach her first Australian Open semifinal.

Poland’s Swiatek will next meet 27th-seeded American Danielle Collins, who previously beat France’s Alize Cornet 7-5 6-1, for a place in Saturday’s final at Melbourne Park.

In their first career encounter, Swiatek squandered save-ball opportunities in each of Kanepi’s first three service games and it was the Estonian who converted her first chance in game seven to gain some momentum. advance.

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Swiatek saved four set points in the ninth game which lasted 16 minutes but couldn’t stop Kanepi taking the opener on his ninth chance after another long game.

“In the first set I had so many breakpoints, I felt like I missed my chances because she smashed me on her first breakpoint,” Swiatek said on field.

“I was quite pissed off. It was a mistake because I should have focused on the future, on the next ball.”

Kanepi, 36, looked set to progress beyond the last eight at a Grand Slam for the first time when she broke early in the second, with a frustrated Swiatek slapping herself and slamming her racquet on the ground.

The Estonian did most of the damage with her powerful two-handed backhand, leaving Swiatek rooted to the spot and helplessly watching the winners scream.

But the 2020 Roland Garros champion, who committed 12 double faults in the match, regained her composure and raised her level in a decisive second set to tie the match at 1-1.

Swiatek suffered two more breaks in the decider but managed to break Kanepi at 115 on four occasions.

She showed incredible defense on her second match point, sealing the three-hour contest when Kanepi sent a backhand wide for her 62nd unforced error.

“I’m really happy to have my voice because I was screaming so loudly,” Swiatek said.

“That match was crazy and without the energy in the stadium I think it would have been really difficult to win it.”

While Kanepi admitted to feeling “a little heavy” in her legs in the third set, Swiatek didn’t hold back in the sweltering conditions and said she would be ready for the final clash against Collins on Thursday.

“My main concern is whether the sun is going to bother me during the service,” Swiatek told reporters. “So I really didn’t care if it was hot and humid.

“I know I’m really prepared physically, and I was hoping that she would be more tired at the end. I actually wanted to extend some…rallies to tire her more because I have a lot of confidence in her. me in terms of my fitness.”

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Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; edited by Peter Rutherford

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