It would be an all-teen final at the Volvo Car Open that would be happening on Sunday, the first time there was a WTA final between two teenagers since 2009. Daria Kasatkina and Jelena Ostapenko would vie for their first ever WTA title of their respective careers, with the Russian participating in her first ever final on tour having fallen in the semifinals twice previously. This all happened due to their victories over Laura Siegemund and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni respectively, of which both are very dangerous and skillful clay court players.
Kasatkina steers to her first ever WTA Final
First up on Saturday was the semifinal match between Daria Kasatkina and Laura Siegemund, which the Russian triumphed in three sets. It was a good start to the match for the youngster as she claimed the early break of serve in the third game, breaking down the German’s unique game as she came up with some good responses to her unexpected drop shots.
However, her momentum was not there for long as Siegemund broke serve twice in a row to gain the lead for the first time in the match, mixing up her shots and causing confusion to Kasatkina’s rhythm, disallowing her to play her normal tennis as Siegemund often controlled play with her slices. Despite suffering a slight hiccup in the process, the German eventually closed out the first set and was halfway from her second Premier final in two years. After an even start to the second set which featured a break of serve for both players, Kasatkina made the next breakthrough in a marathon 18-points game, taking the lead late in the set as she seemed on course to extend the match into a deciding set. The on-court coaching session at the start of the second set certainly proved to be effective, with Kasatkina changing her tactics to become more offensive, dictating play and prevent Siegemind from having her way.
She did not disappoint her fans as she eventually closed out the second set in comfortable fashion, rattling off four games in a row to do so. Her momentum was then carried over to the final set, with the Russian jumping out to a formidable 4-0 lead within a blink of an eye, extending her run to eight straight games. Fending off three break points in the process, Kasatkina had the golden opportunity to seal up a bagel as she went up 15-30 at 0-5 on Siegemund’s serve, but failed to do so as the German managed to earn a consolation game just at the last moment. Nevertheless, the Russian eventually managed to close out the match after 2 hours and 20 minutes, sealing a place in her first ever WTA final.
Ostapenko serves her way to her first WTA clay court final
The another semifinal which followed up was between 11th seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni and Jelena Ostapenko, in which the young Latvian created yet another upset here in Charleston as her dream run continues. Lucic-Baroni came out firing as she broke serve in the opening game of the match, but she failed to hold onto her lead for long as Ostapenko broke straight back in the next game to prevent herself from falling behind too much on the scoreboard. The next breakthrough came late in the first set as the Latvian claimed the pivotal break of serve in the eighth game, earning the golden opportunity to serve out the set.
Despite facing a break point while serving for the set, Ostapenko held her nerves to eventually seal the first set 6-3 after just 34 minutes as she was halfway through to the second biggest final of her career. The second set saw Lucic-Baroni getting herself into deep trouble as she went down a break in the fifth game, allowing Ostapenko to lead by a set and a break and looked on course for a comfortable victory.
Despite returning level in the next game, the veteran was unable to keep up with Ostapenko’s powerful tennis which has been on display throughout the whole week, gifting the lead back to the youngster as she managed to consolidate the break to place herself just one game away from the huge victory. From then on, Lucic-Baroni stepped up her game and played her best tennis to unexpectedly break serve twice in a row and eventually closed out the second set 7-5 all of a sudden, despite being two points away from defeat thrice previously. Despite so, Lucic-Baroni was unable to keep up her good form in the final set as she seemed to be affected by an injury, limiting her movements around the court.
Ostapenko maintained her composure, breaking serve in the opening game of the final set to take the early lead before she had a double break lead in the fifth game as the victory looked to be secured in her hands. Nevertheless, Lucic-Baroni did not let Ostapenko get the victory so easily as she broke straight back and kept the scoreline close, always finding opportunities to break serve. However, Ostapenko stood firm as her serves remained as solid as before, with her booming forehands doing the work for her. Ultimately, the young Latvian sealed the upset within 2 hours and 8 minutes with a 6-4 scoreline in the final set, progressing to her first final in her first ever appearance here in Charleston.