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10 of the best wins from match point down in 2022: No 2: Sabalenka v Kanepi, US Open second round

Players won from match point down on 140 occasions in 2022. Here’s the second in our 10-part series looking at their great escapes

Aryna Sabalenka Sep 1, 2022; Flushing, NY, USA; Aryna Sabalenka serves against Kaia Kanepi (EST) (not pictured) on day four of the 2022 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center. (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

In 2022, a total of 140 matches on the ATP/WTA Tours were won from match point down; 81 on the men’s side and 59 on the women’s side. Two men – Jannik Sinner and Dominic Thiem – did it four times while two women – Petra Kvitova and Jessica Pegula managed it on a Tour-topping three occasions.

Tennis Majors has picked out 10 of the best of those 140 matches, where one player escaped from the jaws of defeat to claim an unlikely victory.

No 2: US Open, second round: Aryna Sabalenka beats Kaia Kanepi 2-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4

Aryna Sabalenka endured a tough 2022, a year she began as the world No 2 but one in which she spent most of the time battling against the yips on serve.

To her immense credit, the Belarusian eventually recovered to finish world No 5 but had it not been for a stunning comeback – and a stunning collapse by Kaia Kanepi – things might very well have been different.

Veteran Estonian Kanepi, famous for upsetting top 10 players, had beaten Sabalenka at the Australian Open earlier in the year and he she was, romping her way to victory, leading 6-2, 5-1 against an opponent who was spraying errors everywhere. But Kanepi got tight and the match descended into a dog-fight.

Still, Kanepi led 5-2 in the second-set tiebreak and had two match points but could not close it out and Sabalenka survived to level up the match.

Sabalenka maintained her momentum in the second but still there was time for drama as she double-faulted three times when serving for the match. But she survived and went on to reach the semi-finals, taking a set off the eventual champion Iga Swiatek, effectively turning her year around.

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