Iga Swiatek is into her first Australian Open semi-final after coming from a set down to beat Kaia Kanepi 4-6 7-6(2) 6-3 in three hours and one minute on Rod Laver Arena.
The 2020 French Open champion initially struggled to deal with Kanepi’s power in the stifling hot conditions on court, but she rallied to end the world No 115’s dream run who was playing in her seventh career Grand Slam quarter-final.
The 20-year-old will face No 27 seed Danielle Collins, who beat Alize Cornet in straight sets earlier in the day, in the last four.
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"I'm really glad that I still have my voice because I was shouting so loud," Swiatek said on court after the topsy-turvy match.
"This match was crazy and without the energy of the stadium I think it would've been really hard to win it."
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In a nervy start to the first set, Kanepi clung onto her service games fighting off four break points to keep the scores level at 3-3 after half an hour.
Then in the seventh game Kanepi seized on her first break point opportunity, hitting a vicious service return winner down the line much to the frustration of Swiatek.
Swiatek was having issues with her second serve, double faulting six times, and she conceded five break points to Kanepi at 5-3 down, but the Pole held on after a 16-minute game.
It mattered little in the end though. After 64 minutes, with Swiatek getting increasingly wound up, Kanepi laboured to a one set lead. The 36-year-old converted her ninth set point with a powerful serve that the No 7 seed could not return.
'Extraordinary' - Swiatek shows incredible defence to win match over Kanepi
Kanepi started the second set by going a break up. An unreturnable cross-court backhand left Swiatek on the floor and it looked like it could be a decisive moment.
But Swiatek began to get more power behind her groundstrokes and the momentum swung her way as she reeled off four successive games, breaking the Kanepi serve for the first time in the match. But at 4-2 down Kanepi broke back after Swiatek hit a limp backhand into the net.
The set went all the way to a tie-break. Kanepi clawed back Swiatek's mini break before the Pole unleashed a vicious return of serve to move into a 4-2 lead. It proved decisive as Swiatek champion won the next three points to force a decider.
Unforced errors had crept into Kanepi’s game and she went down a break in the opening game of the third set as she hit a wild forehand into the trams, but the Estonian responded with two games in a row to break back.
Swiatek was undeterred, though, and immediately broke Kanepi again, and once more to go 5-2 up with a firm cross-court backhand.
Kanepi pulled one break back but Swiatek would win the match on her opponent's serve, sealing it on a crazy match point where she returned two seemingly unstoppable smashes.
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