Defending champion Daria Kasatkina will return to the Volvo Car Open in 2018 as the Russian will return to Charleston looking for a replica for her success this year. The talented youngster, who reached her first ever WTA final of her career on the same grounds, is the fourth player confirmed to be making an appearance at the Premier event during April next year.
Past year success
Kasatkina had an impressive Charleston campaign this year, having won her maiden career title as an unseeded player. Coming onto the green clay riding on a four-match losing streak, Kasatkina looked out-of-sorts and seemed headed towards another early exit after being given an extremely tricky draw. Nonetheless, she finally claimed a win as the Russian easily outclassed Danka Kovinic 6-1, 6-2 in under an hour.
The youngster then exacted revenge over Monica Puig, whom she lost to just weeks ago, defeating the Puerto Rican in three sets. Facing good friend Daria Gavrilova, Kasatkina continued maintaining her high level of play and ousted the Australian in another encounter which went the distance.
Kasatkina next beat 10th seed Irina-Camelia Begu without facing many problems, but her most impressive win of the week arguably came against clay-court specialist Laura Siegemund, who would then go on to claim the title in Stuttgart beating three top-10 players along the way. Outclassing the German in three sets, the Russian reached her first career final. There, she blew Jelena Ostapenko (who went on to win the French Open) off the court in straight sets, triumphing with a straightforward 6-3, 6-1 scoreline.
Defending champion returns
Kasatkina will participate in a tournament as the defending champion for the first time in her career, and she would have to defend a massive 470 points during the tournament week itself. The Russian sounded extremely excited to come back to Charleston and perform in front of the crowd once more, mentioning that, “Winning my first title was one of the best moments of my life. I felt the support from the crowd in Charleston, and am excited that I’ll have the opportunity to play in front of them again in 2018.”
Tournament manager Eleanor Adams also expressed her delight at the appearance of Kasatkina, “Welcoming back a returning champion, especially one who won her first title here is always extra special. Daria loves to play on our green clay courts and she was inspired by our fans support! Daria played fiercely and defeated several tough opponents this year, I know she would love to hoist our trophy again in 2018.” Defending the title may be a tricky challenge for the Russian, as other quality players like Sloane Stephens, Petra Kvitova, and Madison Keys have also all opted to participate in the only green-clay event on the tour. Nonetheless, Kasatkina will definitely put in her best effort and try to vie for the title once more.