Kaia Kanepi: Wikis


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Kaia Kanepi
Kaia Kanepi
Nickname(s) Haapsalu Kahur
Country  Estonia
Residence Haapsalu, Estonia
Date of birth June 10, 1985 (1985-06-10) (age 24)
Place of birth Tallinn, Estonia
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 163 lb (74 kg; 11.6 st)
Turned pro 2000
Plays Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Career prize money US$1,089,081
Career record 236–144
Career titles 0 WTA, 6 ITF
Highest ranking No. 18 (May 25, 2009)
Current ranking No. 92 (March 8, 2010)
Grand Slam results
Australian Open 3r (2009)
French Open QF (2008)
Wimbledon 2r (2007)
US Open 3r (2006)
Career record 25–41
Career titles 0 WTA, 2 ITF
Highest ranking No. 160 (June 8, 2009)
Australian Open 1R (2007, 2008, 2009)
French Open 2R (2009)
Wimbledon 3R (2008)
US Open 1R (2006, 2007, 2008)
Last updated on: May 11, 2009.

Kaia Kanepi (pronunciation: KAY-ah KA-nep-i; born 10 June 1985 in Tallinn) is an Estonian professional female tennis player. Her career-high ranking was set at World No. 18 on May 25, 2009. As of December 21, 2009 she is ranked World No. 58. She is right-handed and has a two-handed backhand. Her favourite surface is clay.



Her father, Jaak (a real estate broker) and mother Anne (a homemaker) played tennis. They also have daughters Kadri, who won a tennis scholarship to study in the U.S. and Karin, a dedicated horse rider. Kaia, who always watched her parents and sisters play, discovered her love for tennis at an early age. She started playing at the age of 8. Her family has always supported her desire to play professional tennis. She reached World No. 1 on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior rankings before turning professional in 2000. She has won six ITF singles titles and is now the top-ranked Estonian female tennis player.

She currently lives in Haapsalu, Estonia. From the beginning of 2008, Kanepi was coached by Luca Appino. Since November 2009 Kanepi has been coached by fellow Estonia pro Mait Künnap



At the end of 2006, she reached her first WTA-tour final during the Gaz de France Stars tournament in Hasselt, Belgium. She came through three qualification rounds and beat Anne Kremer, Nathalie Dechy, Eleni Daniilidou, Francesca Schiavone, and Michaella Krajicek to eventually play the final against Kim Clijsters, where she lost, 6–3, 3–6, 6–4.


At the Australian Open, Kaia struggled but defeated 28th-seeded Flavia Pennetta of Italy 7–5, 7–6, before losing to Alicia Molik 1–6, 6–3, 6–2 in the second round. At Indian Wells Masters, she defeated wildcard Kristina Brandi in the first round 3–6, 7–5, 6–0 but lost in the second round to 14th-seeded and eventual champion Daniela Hantuchová 2–6, 6–2, 6–1. At the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, she stunned Patty Schnyder in the second round before losing to qualifier Vera Dushevina in the next round.

In late July, Kanepi reached the semifinals of the Bad Gastein tournament in Austria where she fell to Francesca Schiavone 6–4, 6–2. This was her third career semifinal and first of the year. Afterwards, she made her top 40 debut at World No. 40.


At the French Open, Kanepi defeated sixth-seeded Anna Chakvetadze 6–4, 7–6(2). She then defeated 29th-seeded Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-1, 6-7, 7-5 for a place in the fourth round; outplaying unseeded Petra Kvitova 6–3, 3–6, 6–1 took her to the quarterfinals, where she was finally defeated by fourth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova 7–5, 6–2.

Kanepi was granted direct entry at Wimbledon, where she lost in the first round to sixth-seeded Serena Williams 7–5, 6–3.

At the 2008 Summer Olympics Kanepi reached the third round, defeating Flavia Pennetta and Virginie Razzano before losing to Li Na 4–6, 6–2, 6–0.

At the U.S. Open, she defeated Monica Niculescu in the first round 6–0, 6–3 but lost to Amélie Mauresmo in the second round 2–6, 6–4, 6–0.

Kanepi in September reached the quarterfinals as a qualifier of the Tier I Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, where she defeated Vera Dushevina, World No. 13 Chakvetadze, and Virginie Razzano before losing to World No. 5 Dinara Safina of Russia 6–4, 6–7(4), 6–3. She then reached the semifinals of the Hansol Women's Open in Seoul, South Korea where she was beaten by the eventual champion and top-seeded Maria Kirilenko of Russia 6–4, 3–6, 6–4.

She then made only her second final at the WTA level at the Tier III Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo. She defeated Lucie Safarova, Yanina Wickmayer, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and eighth-seeded Aleksandra Wozniak before losing in the final to Danish World No. 16 and top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki 6–2, 3–6, 6–1.

She was named the Best Female Athlete of Estonia 2008 by the Association of Estonian Sports Journalists.[1]


Kanepi reached her career-best 3rd round at the Australian Open, but lost miserably to then world number 3 Dinara Safina in straight sets. She had an epic match with Kimiko Date, former world number 4, in the 1st round in 3 sets 4-6 6-4 8-6.

She was a member of Estonian Fed Cup team in rounds played in February. Teamed with Maret Ani, the Estonian team beat Bulgaria, Croatia and Belarus. Kanepi won all single games she played (including a win over then world number 15 Victoria Azarenka). She set a new personal 196 km/h serve record in the tournament, among the best ever served by women.

Kanepi continued her year in GDF Suez Open, a WTA premier tournament, but lost in the 2nd round to Emile Loit. Weak serve and health problems were cited as reasons for the loss to lower-ranked player.

At top-level Dubai Tennis Championships (9 out of 10 of the 10 highest-ranked WTA players participated), she advanced to the third round to set up a match with the former world number 1 Jelena Jankovic. She defeated Jankovic in two sets, 6-2 7-5. Jankovic was ranked no 3 at the time. She was the highest-seeded player Kanepi had by that time defeated. Kanepi commented on her match briefly after her match: "I am really happy at the moment. My game plan was to mix my game up and it worked. My coach Luca Appino has also improved my serve." Jankovic did not agree in the post-match interview that her loss was due to Kanepi playing well, though: "This was the worst match of my career. It was a horrible day. I kept framing the ball, kept making unforced errors and could not put two balls together on the court. I didn't move properly, and I didn't see the ball properly. She didn't have to do too much. Basically, I beat myself. I don't know what happened out there. I am ashamed of this performance." Kanepi beat Elena Vesnina in the quarterfinals in straight sets with scoreline 6-3, 7-5, she was, however, denied a place in the finals by Virginie Razzano, 1-6, 2-6.

Kanepi then participated at the Rome Masters. She defeated Patty Schnyder in the third round but lost to Victoria Azarenka in the quarterfinals. Her next tournament was the 2009 Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open where she was seeded sixteenth. However, she retired in the first round losing to Lucie Safarova. In the French Open Opening round, Kanepi was defeated by Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova, in the first surprise of the day. Her 1st round loss will lead to a costly drop in the ranking, as she fell to world no. 24 ranking as she reached the quarterfinals the previous year.

She was then scheduled to play at the 2009 AEGON Classic in Birmingham, United Kingdom as the second seed. However, she then withdrew because of knee injury.

Kanepi was seeded 25th at the 2009 Wimbledon Championships but lost to Carla Suarez Navarro in the first round.

After a First Round loss at the China Open in Beijing to Serena Williams in a match where she had more break points than Serena she lost 7-5,6-4 and is currently on a 12-match losing streak. Kanepi ended in her losing streak in Dubai in December where she won in two sets in first round


By the start of the new season Kanepi looked very much in better physical shape than in 2009. Also she had colored her hair darker. Kanepi reached second round at ASB Classic, defeating Li Na in straight sets. She also reached second round at Australian Open, she lost to Nadia Petrova 6-4 6-4 in 2 hour tight match.

Kanepi was seeded 5th at the The Cellular South Cup in Memphis. She is in the same half of the draw as Maria Sharapova. She defeated Arantxa Rus in the first round and former World No. 7 Nicole Vaidisova in the second round. She fell in three sets to #5 seed Petra Kvitova in the quarterfinals. At the 2010 BNP Paribas Open, she fell in the first round 7-6(1),6-3,6-4 to Romanian Sorana Cirstea.

Playing style

Kanepi builds up her game around her powerful groundstrokes. Her serve is considered to be one of the strongest on the WTA tour. Kanepi frequently hits 170 km/h to 180 km/h serves. She generally serves for power and tries to hit the lines but sometimes hits a powerful body serve to push her opponents behind the baseline. But sometimes her serve can break down which affects her game.In 2008 she began to improve her volleying skills and under her current coach Luca Appino has begun to use sliced backhand more often thus making her playing more versatile.

She likes to return serves mainly with her backhand which she hits extremely flat and tries to position herself to receive with backhand but is also capable of hitting good service returns with her forehand as well. She likes to end points early but she is capable of playing long rallys and reducing her unforced error count. Overall, she is an offensive baseliner but depending on game situation and scoreboard Kanepi can play a more defensive game despite her not being as fit as some of the other top players on the WTA tour.


For a long time Kanepi was sponsored by Infortar, the largest shareholder of Tallink, a major ferry company in the Baltic Sea. Their cooperation ended in February 2010.[2]

WTA Tour singles finals (2)

Wins (0)

Legend: Before 2009 Legend: Starting in 2009
Grand Slam tournaments
WTA Championships
Tier I Premier Mandatory
Tier II Premier 5
Tier III Premier
Tier IV & V International
Titles by surface
Hard 0
Clay 0
Grass 0
Carpet 0
No. Date Tournament Name Tournament Location Surface Opponent in Final Score in Final

Runner-ups (2)

Legend: Before 2009 Legend: Starting in 2009
Grand Slam tournaments
WTA Championships
Tier I Premier Mandatory
Tier II Premier 5
Tier III Premier
Tier IV & V International
Runner-ups by surface
Hard 2
Clay 0
Grass 0
Carpet 0
No. Date Tournament Name Tournament Location Surface Opponent in Final Score in Final
1. 5 November 2006 Gaz de France Stars Hasselt, Belgium Hard Belgium Kim Clijsters 3–6, 6–3, 4–6
2. 5 October 2008 AIG Japan Open Tennis Championships Tokyo, Japan Hard Denmark Caroline Wozniacki 2–6, 6–3, 1–6

Grand Slam singles performance timeline

To prevent confusion and double counting, information in this table is updated only after a tournament or the player's participation in the tournament has concluded. This table is current through the 2009 Wimbledon Championships.

Tournament 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Australian Open 2R 1R 3R 2R
French Open 2R 1R QF 1R
Wimbledon 1R 2R 1R 1R
US Open 3R 1R 2R 1R


External links

Preceded by
Irina Embrich
Estonian Sportswoman of the Year
Succeeded by


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