Melbourne, Jan 26
Former French Open champion Iga Swiatek of Poland rallied past Estonian Kaia Kanepi in a three-hour marathon to reach the semifinal at the Australian Open for the first time here on Wednesday.
Trailing Kanepi by a set and a break, the No. 7 seed Swiatek dug deep into her reserves to win the second-longest women's singles match of this edition of the Australian Open so far, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-3.
The three hour, one-minute win is the longest match in 20-year-old Swiatek's career at a Grand Slam to date, bettering a two hour, 42-minute 6-7(4), 7-5, 7-5 defeat to another Estonian, Anett Kontaveit, in the third round in Australia two years ago.
Swiatek is now 5-0 in three-set matches at Grand Slams in which she lost the first set. After winning her first Grand Slam title at the 2020 French Open without the loss of a set, Swiatek has rallied from a set down in each of her last two matches in pursuit of a second major final.
She will face No.27 seed Danielle Collins of the United States, a winner in straight sets against France's Alize Cornet, for a chance to play in the final.
Kanepi, on the other hand, dropped to 0-7 in her career in major quarterfinals, having won a set for just the second time in those matches. However Kanepi's giant-killing run, where she defeated Germany's Angelique Kerber and Belarus's Aryna Sabalenka to reach the quarterfinals, will push her from her current ranking of world No.115 into the top-65. Kanepi was ranked as high as world No. 15 in August 2012.
Swiatek found herself down 6-4, 1-0 as she struggled to match Kanepi's first-serve and power tennis. However, after playing for more than two hours for the first two sets, Kanepi's unforced errors swelled in the decider. Swiatek broke four times in the decider, opening up leads of 2-0 and 5-2 after Kanepi surged briefly for 2-2.