Daria Kasatkina’s excellent run of form continues at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open after she outlasted world number two Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round, under the lights of Stadium 2 where they performed a late-night thriller for the fired-up crowd. Prevailing with a tight 6-4, 7-5 scoreline, the Russian came from 0-3 down in the first set while mounting yet another comeback from 3-5 down in the second.
Having claimed her third top-five victory in 2018, Kasatkina has another chance to upset another top-10 player in Angelique Kerber, having won both their meetings last year. They will face off in the blockbuster quarterfinal clash with the German being in top form as well, defeating world number seven Caroline Garcia 6-1, 6-1 later in the evening.
Kasatkina comes up with an improbable comeback to steal the first set
Wozniacki had the best possible start to the match as she came into the encounter firing on all cylinders. She was looking to be aggressive despite the slow courts and the Dane certainly got her wish fulfilled as Kasatkina could not find her feet in the early stages, unable to produce her world-class defensive skills. Rattling off 15 of the opening 17 points, it was turning out to be a one-sided affair as the Russian looked totally out-of-sorts.
A fantastic drop shot attempt to save a break point at 0-3 15-40 completely turned the tides for Kasatkina as her excellent ability to absorb the pace and redirect it caused some troubles for Wozniacki, and the youngster soon found herself on board by fending off multiple break points. Aggressive forehands and impressive net play for Kasatkina allowed her to claim six consecutive points, returning level from nowhere.
Another marathon game saw Wozniacki failing to convert her opportunities, missing out on two game points as the Dane started to lose her focus, being unusually erratic with Kasatkina taking full advantage of that.
Five consecutive games came and went, but Wozniacki found herself down 3-5 despite leading 3-0 40-15 just moments ago. Resilient play from the world number two saw her stop the rout, and fend off a set point to eke out a tough service hold for 4-5. However, Kasatkina was unstoppable on her serve as she served out the set after 50 minutes of play.
Kasatkina impresses with yet another comeback to prevail
An exchange of breaks started the second set but it was Kasatkina who made the next breakthrough as Wozniacki grew increasingly frustrated with herself after every error she had made. A costly double-fault by the Dane gifted Kasatkina the lead, but some passive play from the Russian caused her to get pegged back.
Wozniacki soon went on a run by winning 12 of the next 15 points, and the momentum was all with the Australian Open champion as she earned the golden opportunity to serve out the set. The pressure was immense and Kasatkina’s fantastic ability to retrieve every ball frustrated Wozniacki, who made a crucial open volley error at 30-30 which ultimately derailed her chances to take the set.
Nothing was going right for the former world number one, and losing 16 of the last 20 points certainly reflected how Wozniacki allowed her own dismay to overwhelm her throughout the encounter. Kasatkina eventually completed the upset victory after just an hour and 41-minutes of play, earning her second win over Wozniacki in two months.