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Kanepi powers to Brisbane title

ESPN staff
January 7, 2012 « Laird begins brightly as Byrd claims lead | Chartbeat test »
Kaia Kanepi beat Daniela Hantuchova for the first time in Brisbane © Getty Images
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Kaia Kanepi kicked off the new season in style, winning the second title of her career after beating Daniela Hantuchova at the Brisbane International.

The world No. 34 gave her Australian Open preparations a major boost as she swept to a 6-2 6-1 victory in just 75 minutes.

Kanepi, who had never beaten Hantuchova in three previous meetings, won five straight games to close out the opening set before streaking to a 4-0 lead in the second. Hantuchova stopped the rot, holding serve to end a run of nine games against her, but she was unable to stage a comeback against the powerful Estonian.

Kanepi looked set to break into the world's top ten last year, but has at times lacked consistency in recent seasons. However, the three-time grand slam quarter-finalist showed she has the game to challenge the top players with a dominant performance in Queensland, beating three seeded players en route to the final.

Meanwhile, the final of the ASB Classic between Flavia Pennetta and Jie Zheng will be played on Sunday after continuous rain in Auckland, New Zealand forced the decider to be held over.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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