At the Brisbane International, which is now a Premier tournament, Kaia Kanepi won her second and biggest title after beating Daniela Hantuchova 6-2 6-1 in the final. Her maiden WTA title came two years ago at the International-level event in Palermo.
The first to lead, 2-1, was Hantuchova, but from then on Kanepi won nine straight games and in the second set she lost just one point in the first four games.
Kanepi’s most thrilling match was in the first round against Alexandra Panova, 121st-ranked qualifier, which ended after more than two hours of play, 7-5 3-6 6-2. Three seeded players followed and the scoreline was more straightforward, often much more: 6-0 6-3 against seed No.7 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 6-1 7-6(7) against seed No.2 Andrea Petkovic, and 6-3 6-0 against seed No.3 Francesca Schiavone in the semis.
The 26-year-old Kanepi is a significant Estonian in many ways: she’s the first from her country to reach a WTA final, the first to play a Grand Slam quarterfinal, the first to crack Top 20, win a WTA title and beat a regining world No.1 when she defeated Caroline Wozniacki in Tokyo last year.
The prize of $110,000 reached Kanepi’s pocket with the Brisbane title and the Estonian is projected to rise from No.34 to No.26 in the rankings.