WTA Rogers Cup: Daria Kasatkina edges out Roberta Vinci in two tight sets
Source: Tennis World USA

Daria Kasatkina took her revenge against Roberta Vinci by defeating the Italian 7-5, 6-3 in their third round match at the Coupe Rogers in Montréal. Another Premier 5 tournament, the Qatar Open, saw their only previous meeting. In Doha, the Italian number one had a comeback win against Kasatkina, taking the second set 6-4 after winning only two games in the first, and then closing the score with a 7-3 win in the third set tiebreak.

This time the Russian found more struggle in winning the first set but had been able to keep the momentum to go ahead and close the match with a straight-set win.

Vinci missed the chance to reconfirm the quarterfinal she reached last year in Toronto, a result she also reached in 2011 and 2012. With today’s win, Kasaktina will provisionally reach her best ranking of 27th, and she is reaching the quarterfinals in a Premier 5 event for the first time.

Kasatkina wins a close battle to claim the first set

Three comfortable holds marked a beginning of the set which lacked any chances from both players to take the lead. Vinci did a better job on her return games, taking important points, but easing the hold to the Russian with crucial errors in the final points. 

The first chances came for the 19-year-old in the fifth game. A huge help by Vinci, who hit a double fault and two errors in a row, eased the path for Kasatkina, who converted her first break point to draw the first blood and take the lead.

The Russian returned the favor right in the following game; from 40-15 up, she hit too many errors in a row to give her opponent a first chance to level-off, which Vinci converted with two well-placed forehands.

Quickly falling 15-40 down in her following service game, the Italian saved one break point opening up the court and hit down the line. She then tried to close the next point with a drop-shot, but the Russian reached it and took the point with a passing shot, signing the third break in a row and earning the chance to serve for the set.

Chance she wasted right away, gifting Vinci a break point with a backhand error. The Italian converted it with a good return shot, and then went ahead to hold her following game, settling the score to a 5-all.

The 33-year-old’s attempted comeback didn’t concretize in the end of the set. The Russian quickly recovered from her missed chances, and hit some good first serves to regain the control and comfortably holding her following game. She then benefitted of a very complicated last game for Vinci, twice hampered by the net, and not helped by a foot fault warning and by a wrong call she needed to challenge, which clearly didn’t help her to stay focused on her game. A final forehand error delivered the set into Kasatkina’s hands, with a final 7-5 scoreline.

Vinci looking on (Getty Images)

Kasatkina gains the momentum and served her way to the victory

If the first set had been all in all a balanced one, the second one didn’t start as very different. From 30-0 up in the first game, Kasatkina dragged it to deuce but eventually saved it with a cross-court forehand and an ace. The Russian consolidated the lead in the most battled game of the match. A timing error from Vinci immediately gave her opponent two chances to break; the Russian wasted the first one with a return error, while a well-built serve and volley from the Italian saved the second one. Kasatkina threw away two more chances before Vinci gained herself one to hold; a volley error brought the game back to deuce. Kasatkina eventually gained the early lead by converting her sixth break point with a forehand winner.

As in the first set, Vinci immediately leveled-off the score, forcing Kasatkina to defend, and closing from the net the last crucial points. She couldn’t hold her following game, hitting three errors in a row to give Kasatkina two more chances to regain the lead; the Russian converted the first one with a shot down the line. A huge hold in the following game, gained with a comeback from 0-30 down, allowed her to secure a 4-1 lead.

Another struggling game on serve complicated things for Vinci, who needed to save three more break points and wasted herself two chances before being able to close the game and hold her serve for the first time in the set. Her opponent showed far more confidence as she dropped only one point as she proceeded to book a 5-2 lead, along with the chance to serve for the set.

Vinci seemed to regain some confidence as she comfortably held her following game; she couldn’t get any further, as the Russian regained the momentum and rushed 40-0 ahead while serving for the match. A good drop shot saved the first match point but didn’t prevent Kasatkina to convert the second one, performing a good defense to close the set with a 6-3 scoreline and advance to the quarterfinals.

A better consistency, especially in the second set, eased the Russian’s path to the win. Despite being able to score very good points from the net, a lot of errors, especially from her backhand, jinxed the Italian on the most important points, making her miss important chances to turn the tables during the match.

Kasatkina’s path to the semifinals will meet Australian Open champion and Wimbledon finalist Angelique Kerber. It will be their first meeting in their careers.