In a battle of young talents in the second round of the French Open, Daria Kasatkina ended the run of Marketa Vondrousova in a tight straight sets match as the Czech was suspected to be suffering from an arm injury throughout the match, ending her first ever Grand Slam campaign. Kasatkina now faces either Tatjana Maria or Simona Halep in the third round.
Kasatkina fights back from a slow start
Vondrousova had the best possible start to the match, playing some amazing tennis and maintaining her high quality of play from her matches in qualifying and her merciless victory over Amandine Hesse in the first round of the main draw, claiming her first ever Grand Slam victory after losing just one solitary game.
The talented and hard-hitting Czech youngster came up with some powerful tennis, dictating the rallies from the first stroke, coming up with some deadly returns that were too good for Kasatkina, breaking serve in the opening game. Unfazed by her higher-ranked opponent opposite the net, Vondrousova comfortably held her serve to consolidate the break and extend her lead to two games.
The Russian then finally got herself onto the scoreboard with some impressive variety of shots, utilizing her slices perfectly to lessen the speed of Vondrousova’s strong groundstrokes and take the opportunity to go on the offense. Going on an excellent run, Kasatkina rattled off 12 consecutive points to win three straight games and take the lead for the first time in the match, looking in great form as Vondrousova started to lose the momentum. Nevertheless, the Czech remained solid on her serve and continued to fire in bombs, returning level on the scoreboard.
She then looked poised to regain the lead after hitting yet another couple of pinpoint returns, earning two break points in the following game. Despite so, Kasatkina was unaffected and remained composed throughout the game, displaying some amazing defensive skills to prevail in that game. Vondrousova soon found herself serving to stay in the set down 4-5, but showed some great mentality when she hit a smash winner and three consecutive aces to comfortably hold her serve.
After an exchange of service holds, the fans were treated to a tiebreak to decide the winner. With some amazing play and managing to turn defense into offense effectively, Kasatkina managed to jump out to a commanding 5-0 lead in the tiebreak within a blink of an eye, eventually closing out the tightly-contested first set with a 7-1 scoreline in that tiebreak.
Kasatkina strolls to the victory
Looking affected by an arm injury, Vondrousova got off to a poor start to the second set as Kasatkina carried over the momentum from the first set to break serve in the opening game, looking on course to close out the win after the Czech youngster threw in a double fault on break point. Despite so, Vondrousova did not lose hope and instead broke straight back to level the match and increase the chances of leveling the match, saving two game points along the way.
Unexpectedly, Kasatkina made an immediate reply as she came from 40-15 down and played an amazing variety of shots, mixing those deadly slices and drop shots to regain her lead. This time, with the help of some relatively powerful forehands, Kasatkina was able to dictate play and consolidate the break. Vondrousova looked to be very frustrated with herself as the injury continued to trouble her, causing her to lose yet another service game and seemed like she headed towards a second round exit.
Nevertheless, the Czech was determined to put up a tough fight as she found her best tennis to break straight back and lessen the deficit. Producing some huge serves, Vondrousova came within one game of Kasatkina as she narrowly held her serve and put herself back into contention all of a sudden. Despite so, the Russian was not affected and stopped any possibilities of a comeback when she easily held her serve to be just a game away from the win.
Vondrousova got through a mentally draining game while serving to stay in the match as she threw in a double fault on game point initially before holding her serve in a nervy game. Nevertheless, Kasatkina managed to successfully serve out the match, sealing the confidence-boosting victory in just 1 hour and 21 minutes, prevailing in straight sets.