Fixture: (2) Aryna Sabalenka vs Kaia Kanepi
Date: 24 January 2022
Round: Fourth round (Round of 16)
Venue: Melbourne, Australia
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Outdoor Hardcourt
Match timing: 9.45 p.m. local time, 10.45 a.m. GMT, 4.15 p.m. IST
Prize money: $75,000,000
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Eurosport | India - Sony Six, Sony Liv
Aryna Sabalenka vs Kaia Kanepi preview
Sabalenka, the second seed, recovered from a one-set deficit against Marketa Vondrousova to book her spot in the second week. This was the third match in a row where the Belarusian overcame a slow start, having previously beaten Wang Xinyu and Storm Sanders in three-set battles.
Kanepi came through a similarly topsy-turvy encounter against home favorite Maddison Inglis in her last match. Having dropped the opening set, the Estonian won 12 of the next 14 games to close out the match 2-6, 6-2, 6-0.
Against Sabalenka, she will have a chance to book a spot in her first-ever Australian Open quarterfinal.
Aryna Sabalenka vs Kaia Kanepi head-to-head
Kanepi leads Sabalenka 1-0 in the head-to-head, having taken a three-set win over the Belarusian at last year's Gippsland Trophy.
Aryna Sabalenka vs Kaia Kanepi prediction
Both Aryna Sabalenka and Kaia Kanepi possess similarly explosive games and this encounter could well turn into a showcase for first-strike tennis.
Sabalenka endured a rough start to the season, but has done well to steady the ship here in Melbourne. The second seed has leaked a fair few unforced errors in her three matches and a lot will depend on her ability to raise her level in crunch moments.
Kanepi's serve and power-packed game has been firing on all cylinders this week. She overcame a slew of solid counterpunchers in the likes of Angelique Kerber and Marie Bouzkova and is likely to step out swinging.
Sabalenka remains the slight favorite, but Kanepi definitely has the firepower to make the second seed pay for any slips. Expect a tight affair with the Estonian edging it.
Prediction: Kaia Kanepi to win in three sets