AVOIDING OBSTACLES: A “fixie” enthusiast navigates a turn at the Red Bull Tru Fix event held in Kronvalds Park, Riga on May 26.
RIGA - Estonian tennis player Kaia Kanepi’s insatiable form without a coach has continued, with the world no. 23 making her third semi-final appearance of the year at the Brussels Open, held between May 19 and 26.
Since splitting ways with her trainer, Silver Karjus back in March, and returning to the court following the latest string of injuries, Kanepi has shown herself to be one of the most in-form players on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) tour, reaching the quarter-finals of an event in Copenhagen, winning the Estoril Open in Portugal and making it to the semi-finals in Brussels before being knocked over by world no.3 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, 7-6 (8), 6-3. In making a rare doubles appearance in Copenhagen with Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson, Kanepi made her first ever WTA doubles finals appearance.
In fact, the only black note on Kanepi’s calendar over the past two months was a first round exit at the Madrid Masters – something the 26-year-old could be excused for, given that two days earlier she had just won the third WTA title of her career in Portugal.
Prior to the Estonian no.1’s meeting with with Radwanska in Belgium, Kanepi failed to drop a set, or even come close to looking like doing so, with only two opponents managing to claim three games from her in a set.
The only concern for Kanepi is ongoing heel problems, but a changed schedule with less tournaments appears to be paying dividends, with the athlete commenting on her personal Web site prior to her meeting with Radwanska in Brussels that, “My heels have not gotten worse. Today was even a bit better than in previous days. The matches have not been very long or tiresome so far. I can have a rest at least one day before Paris,” making reference to the French Open, which began on May 27 and runs until June 10 when the men’s champion will be crowned.
Kanepi’s time in Paris began on Tuesday with a simple straight sets 6-3, 6-3 victory over Russia’s Alexandra Panova. Kanepi’s doubles journey began on Wednesday after The Baltic Times went to print. Teaming up with Shuai Zhang of China, the pair had a tough task first up as they took on number one seeds Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond, both of the United States.
Should Kanepi make victor in either the singles or doubles in Paris, it will provide the perfect present for the Estonian, with her 27th birthday falling on June 10, one day after the women’s singles final and two days after the women’s doubles final.