Thursday, 26 April, 2018

Unseeded Osaka tops Kasatkina to win first WTA title

Venus Williams reaches semifinals at Indian Wells How Daria Kasatkina handled a ruthless Angelique Kerber forehand will surprise you
Lucia Summers | 19 March, 2018, 01:31

"I don't find excuses".

She dropped only one set in the tournament. She made five errors off that wing in the next seven points, and Osaka soon had the first set in hand.

Osaka's opponent in the final is fellow 20-year-old 20th seed Russian Kasatkina, who earlier defeated American eighth seed Williams 4-6 6-4 7-5.

The unseeded Osaka showed maturity beyond her years, becoming the youngest woman to claim the title since Ana Ivanovic a decade ago. Osaka then disposed of Agnieszka Radwanska, then one of last year's No1s, Karolina Pliskova, and then the current No1, Simona Halep, to reach the biggest final of her career and a career-high ranking of 26-No22 if she went on to win her first title.

Kasatkina during the week had beaten reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens and former No. 1s Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams.

She also sealed the biggest win of her career, extending a year-long assault on top players, Grand Slam winners and former world No. 1s. In the victory, Kasatkina won 59 percent of her first serve points and 52 percent of her second serve points.

It would be fair to say Friday's women's semi-finals at the Indian Wells Masters didn't quite go according to plan.

Lionel Messi scores again as Barcelona beat Athletic, Sevilla defeated by Leganes
He did not play in Barcelona's 2-0 win at Malaga in the previous league round because of the birth of his third son. It was a more balanced affair as Bilbao threw all they had at Barcelona but failed to find the back of the net.

Russia's Kasatkina then recovered from a set down to beat world number eight Williams 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.

Daria Kasatkina in action versus Venus Williams at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

And, after almost three hours on court, that's precisely what she did, earning a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory to advance to her first WTA Premier Mandatory final. Kasatkina broke Williams's serve when Williams double-faulted twice in a row, and held to close out the victory. Commenting the match on ESPN, the 18-time Major victor said: 'No.

Kasatkina and Osaka will be sharing a private jet to Miami where they will be competing next, with the Russian joking that she hoped they would get there without fighting too much, while Osaka smiled as she wondered whether Kasatkina would talk to her on the flight.

When Osaka announced herself to the tennis world with a third-round run in her first US Open main draw, in 2016, all who watched knew that her heavy serve and groundstrokes were going to be reckoned with in the coming years.

During her speech at the trophy presentation, Kasatkina urged the crowd to never give up on their dreams and to keep going.

Among those the Russian beat was U.S. Open victor Sloane Stephens, No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki, No. 10 Angelique Kerber and No. 8 Venus Williams.

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