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24 hours makes a big difference for Kaia Kanepi

A solid backhand by Kaia Kanepi.
by Helen Gilbert
Tuesday 2 July 2013

Just 24 hours earlier, Kaia Kanepi produced a solid performance to oust Laura Robson and advance to the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the second time in her career, but the 28-year-old admitted she did not have a Plan B up her sleeve following her 6-3, 6-3 dismantling at the hands of Serena-slayer Sabine Lisicki on ladies' quarter-finals day.

The Estonian big-hitter employed the same powerful technique that helped her on her journey to a place in the last eight, only on Tuesday she too often sprayed her forceful groundstrokes inches past the baseline or blasted balls wide.

“I think I played yesterday better,” she said following her defeat. “I didn’t play that well today… She played well. I thought if I tried to attack (in previous matches I hit winners and did well) but today I was missing a lot. On grass there is no Plan B. I just have to go for my shots. If there is a ball, I have to hit it.”

Kanepi, a five-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist, was ranked as high as No.15 last August but slipped down the rankings due to a persistent Achilles tendon injury. A problem with her right heel blighted the start of her year – forcing her to withdraw from the Australian Open and a string of other tournaments until April when she picked up a racket again. Despite the setback, the Estonian lifted her fourth WTA title just one month later in Brussels. “I didn’t set any goals after the injury. I just wanted to come back and start playing well again,” she said.

On Tuesday, too many wild balls flew from her racket to make any sort of suitable impression on the contest and she generated just 13 winners – 10 fewer than her German challenger. Although the match may not have ended in the manner she would have liked, Kanepi can take solace from performance here over the past two weeks.

A few days ago she declared her game was more stable and aggressive than when she appeared at this stage three years ago, while she believes she is healthier and faster than ever before. “Right now I’m going home tomorrow, then we’ll see how my body feels,” she said of her immediate plans.

Despite the defeat Kanepi remains upbeat.

“I think the last few months [have] been quite successful for me with the comeback. Grand Slams are also very special tournaments anyway.”

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