Kaia Kanepi knocks Aryna Sabalenka out of Australian Open

Kaia Kanepi beat Aryna Sabalenka on a tie-break in the third set 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(7) to reach her first Australian Open quarterfinal on Monday.

Kaia Kanepi of Estonia plays a backhand in her round four women's singles match against Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Estonia's Kaia Kanepi rallied from a set down to topple world number two Aryna Sabalenka 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(10) on Margaret Court Arena in a tight contest on Monday to reach the Australian Open quarterfinals for the first time.

Having surrendered the opening set for three matches in a row, Sabalenka took a one-set lead for the first time in Melbourne but was unable to build on it as her serving issues resurfaced once again.

Kanepi was gifted a double break early in the second set with back-to-back double faults from her 23-year-old opponent and did not waste the opportunity as she cruised to a 4-0 lead before taking the set.

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The 36-year-old carried that momentum into the decider and looked set to go 5-3 up but Sabalenka saved four break points to hold for 3-4 and level it, before suffering a service meltdown again and hitting three double faults in four points.

Kanepi was made to work for her victory after being unable to close the match from 40-0 up as Sabalenka saved four matchpoints, but the Estonian prevailed in the tiebreak and converted her fifth matchpoint to complete the upset.

Kanepi will take on Polish seventh seed Iga Swiatek, who beat Sorana Cirstea 5-7 6-3 6-3 earlier on Monday, for a place in the last four.

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