After reaching the third round at every major tournament at her first appearance, 19-year-old Daria Kasatkina will start her campaign at the Australian Open as the 23rd seed, trying to perform a good run after the two heartbreaking third-round matches, against Kiki Bertens at the French Open and Venus Williams at Wimbledon, both times lost with a 10-8 score in the deciding set.
Her struggle in closing out longer matches could become her worst enemy, but the experience she gained in her past losses could help her overcoming it to perform her first breakthrough in a major tournament.
She will open her Australian Open campaign against Peng Shuai.
Notable results to date
Kasatkina had started her season in a good form. She competed at Brisbane International, where she eased past Irina-Camelia Begu in the first round, and fell with honor against Garbiñe Muguruza in the second round, after a close match battled on every point.
She completed her warm-up leading to Melbourne with a quarterfinal in Sidney, defeating Angelique Kerber in straight sets, marking the third top-10 win of her career and her first success against the world number one, before losing to eventual champion Johanna Konta.
Best hard-court results leading up to the Australian Open
Kasatkina had collected lots of encouraging results during her 2016 season, the first she had fully played on the WTA circuit. On hard courts, she got all the three top-10 wins of her career - against Venus Williams in Auckland, Roberta Vinci at the Rogers Cup and Kerber in Sidney this year - and she had reached the semifinal in St. Petersburg, losing to fellow teen Belinda Bencic, the quarterfinals in Indian Wells, Montréal, Moscow and at the Olympics, and the third round at the Australian Open.
Best Australian Open result
This will be the second appearance of the 19-year-old at the first major of the year. In 2016, she reached the third round, defeating 27th seed Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the opening match and Ana Konjuh in the second round, both in straight sets. In the third round, she could nothing against defending champion and then world number one Serena Williams, who defeated the young Russian with an clear double 6-1.
How Kasatkina's game translates to the surface
Despite the good results already obtained on hard courts, this isn’t the best surface for Kasatkina’s game, since she can’t count on powerful serves and shots, and rely most on constructing points and controlling rallies. However, her talent to convert defense into offense during rallies, stealing the rhythm from her opponents to close out points, usually makes her a tricky opponent even on the faster surfaces.