World No. 418 Kanepi reaches US Open quarterfinals

The Estonian defeats Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 6-4.

Kaia Kanepi returns en route to her victory on Monday.   -  AP

Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi became only the second qualifier to reach the US Open quarterfinals when the World No. 418 defeated Russia’s Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 6-4 on Monday.

The 32-year-old Kanepi, a former World No. 15 whose career was almost ended by illness and a crippling injury to both feet, will face Madison Keys of the United States for a place in the semifinals.

It will be her sixth quarterfinal at the majors and second in New York after also reaching the last eight in 2010. “It’s very tough to believe where I am now after all that has happened. I didn’t expect it,” said Kanepi, who is playing in the main draw of an event for the first time this year.

In 2016, she appeared just once in Rabat as she battled the effects of Epstein-Barr virus and then painful plantar fasciitis in both feet. At one stage, she even considered quitting the sport before deciding to give tennis one more go. “It’s very important to do what you love. If you do, then things will come,” she said.