World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki crashed out of the Pan Pacific Open after a shock 7-5, 1-6, 6-4 loss to Estonian Kaia Kanepi on Wednesday.
Maria Sharapova, meanwhile, is looking for payback on Petra Kvitova after setting up a quarterfinal rematch against her Wimbledon final conqueror with a 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4) win over Germany’s Julia Goerges.
Defending champion Wozniacki looked to have recovered after losing the opening set to world No. 43 Kanepi at Ariake Colosseum, racing through the second set in 36 minutes before jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the third.
But Kanepi raised her game just at the point that Wozniacki’s began to unravel, leaving the Dane ruing her inability to see the job through to the finish.
“I thought I played some really good tennis in the second set and half of the third, and then I was up 3-0 and couldn’t get any first serves in,” said Wozniacki. “I think I should have won that match. I should have made a few changes but that’s tennis. The match is not won until you have won the last point.”
Kanepi rose to a career-best No. 16 ranking in February before injury forced her into a spell on the sidelines, but the 26-year-old was delighted to have finally beaten Wozniacki at her third attempt.
“It feels great,” she said. “Of course I’m very happy, not only because I beat her but also because I played well and hung in there. I went there to play my game and not take too many risks. I think playing my game from the baseline and staying aggressive worked.”
Kanepi will play Agnieszka Radwanska in Thursday’s quarterfinal, after the Pole beat Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic 2-6, 6-4, 6-0.
Czech Kvitova denied Sharapova her first Wimbledon title since 2004 with a 6-3, 6-4 win in July, but the world No. 2 ensured their paths will cross again after surviving two tiebreaks to shake off world No. 20 Goerges.
“It will be a rematch of the Wimbledon final and I would love to get my revenge,” Sharapova said of world No. 6 Kvitova, who beat American Vania King 6-1, 7-6 (7-4). “I had a tough loss against her at Wimbledon. I thought she played really great tennis and she was hitting the ball really big and deep.
“She was really consistent throughout the tournament and served extremely well. I hope I can learn from that match and really raise my level no matter how she plays. I’m looking forward to it.”
Sharapova struggled with her serve as her match against Goerges wore on, hitting a total of 11 double faults and being broken in her first four service games in the second set.
“I won the first set strongly and finished it off really well and then played really good in the first game,” she said. “You’re out on the court for more than an hour and a half, so trying to keep that concentration is probably one of the toughest things when you’re playing a match.
“At certain points your levels are going to drop a little bit but it’s also about how you recover from that. Unfortunately it took me longer to get back in the second set.”
Russian Maria Kirilenko beat Ana Ivanovic 6-3, 6-1 to set up a quarterfinal against countrywoman Vera Zvonareva, a 6-2, 6-2 winner over Iveta Benesona of the Czech Republic.
“It was a little bit difficult this morning to wake up because I finished the match last night quite late, and I didn’t have much time to recover,” said Kirilenko. “But I knew that it was going to be tough and that I had to keep going, and I won.”
In the day’s other singles matches, France’s Marion Bartoli beat Shuai Peng of China 6-2, 6-1 to earn a meeting with Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who beat Czech Klara Zakopalova 6-3, 7-5.
Dokic, father reconcile
Troubled Australian tennis player Jelena Dokic says she has reconciled with her father and former coach, Damir, after an eight-year rift.
Dokic, 28, who was ranked as high as No. 4 as a teenager during her peak, split with her father after a series of embarrassing public indiscretions including accusing Australian Open organizers of fixing the 2001 tournament draw, a vocal complaint over the price of food at the U.S. Open, and his ejection from Wimbledon for being drunk and disorderly on the press balcony. She went on to accuse him of years of humiliation and abuse as her coach.
Damir Dokic was released after almost a year in jail last year for threatening to blow up the Australian Embassy in Belgrade and having an illegal cache of weapons at his house.
Jelena Dokic said in a statement that she and her partner Tin Bikic visited Damir in Serbia “to finally put an end to our disagreement.”
“I am in a very positive and confident frame of mind in my life and I really wanted to do this because I believe it is the right thing to do both for me and for all of my family,” said Dokic, who is now ranked No. 17 in the world rankings.