If ever anyone needed to call the trainer to the court, it was Kaia Kanepi today at the French Open, because someone needed to do the Heimlich Maneuver on her. Already known as a choker, Kanepi took choking to new territory today in the third round when she blew 5-1 leads in both the second and third sets. The Tall One from Tallin served unsuccessfully for the match on four occasions, utterly collapsing on some attempts.
And yet--she won. Her opponent, 9th seed Caroline Wozniacki, just couldn't get rid of her, even after a second set that had to have left Kanepi feeling ridiculous. It was excruciating, at times, to watch Kanepi give away match points, but she had to have some kind of belief left in her for her to emerge the 6-1, 6-7, 6-3 winner.
The match lasted just under three hours, and included a second set incident in which Wozniacki went all Andy Roddick on the chair umpire when a forehand Kanepi hit was called in and resulted in a break.
Kanepi made 41 unforced errors, but she also hit 46 winners. Wozniacki's numbers were 17 and 14, respectively.
Kanepi's next opponent will be Arantxa Rus, who took out 25th seed Julia Goerges in three sets.
Petra Kvitova, as is too often her habit, went away today in her second set against Nina Bratchikova, but the 4th seed won the match, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1. In the next round, the Czech star will play unseeded Varvara Lepchenko, who upset 2010 champion and 2011 finalist Francesca Schiavone 3-6, 6-3, 8-6. The third set, which lasted an hour and 15 minutes, was exactly the type of set the Italian thrives on winning, but that didn't happen today. Lepchenko has now taken out rising star Ksenia Pervak, former world number 1 Jelena Jankovic and 14th seed Schiavone. That is quite a run.
Defending champion Li Na also won today. Li defeated Christina McHale 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, and will face Yaroslava Shvedova in the quarterfinals. Shvedova defeated Carla Suarez Navarro. Shvedova will play Li in the quarterfinals.
2nd seed Maria Sharapova defeated Peng Shuai, and will play Klara Zakopalova in the next round. Zakopalova beat seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Sharapova, by the way, has dropped only five games so far in Paris.
In doubles, defending champions Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka advanced, as did Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci. The Italian team of Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone went out to the reunited team of Nuria Llagostera Vives and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.
And in mixed doubles, Llogostera Vives and Oliver Marach upset 3rd seeds Katarina Srebotnik and Nenad Zimonjic. Also, Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Santiago Gonzalez beat Nadia Petrova and Daniel Nestor.