Kanepi stops Wickmayer to reach U.S. Open quarters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi recovered from a horrendous first set to reach her third career grand slam quarter-final with a 0-6 7-6 6-1 victory over Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer at the U.S. Open on Monday.

Kanepi, who had knocked out number four seed Jelena Jankovic in the previous round, looked overawed by the occasion as she found herself 6-0 1-0 down and facing two break points on her serve.

But the 31st seed steadied her nerves to force her way back into the contest.

“I had a little luck. I was 15-40 on my serve and I served two aces,” she said. “I said to myself, ‘15-40, just go for it.’ So I relaxed.

“Then the match started turning around from my side.

“That game from 15-40 was the key moment. I had nothing to lose, so I just went for a powerful serve, and it was a good serve, an ace. And then the next point was an ace too.”

Kanepi went on to break Wickmayer, a semi-finalist at Flushing Meadows a year ago, twice in the second set and dominated the subsequent tiebreak before wrapping up the final set with relative ease.

Wickmayer looks set to slip in the world rankings after failing to emulate her 2009 Open run. She refused, however, to draw comparisons to last year.

“Last year has nothing to do with this year,” said the 18th-ranked, 20-year-old. “I had my chances in this match and I could have won the second set.

“But, hey, a lot of bad things happen in life but that’s okay. I’m still going to learn out of it and take it to the next one.”