World number 19 Daria Kasatkina stunned the in-form world number 10 Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals of the 2018 BNP Paribas Open. The Russian youngster is currently on a good run and ousted the German with a commanding 6-0, 6-2 scoreline after just a mere 57 minutes.
The German came into the encounter as the slight favorite having won their last meeting at the Toray Pan Pacific Open last year, while also defeating the seventh-ranked Caroline Garcia 6-1, 6-1 two nights before. Everything hinted towards a Kerber victory but Kasatkina upset the odds and earned her third consecutive victory over a Grand Slam champion, moving onto the semifinals where she will face Venus Williams.
Kasatkina whitewashes Kerber in terrific first set
It was a screaming start to the match for Kasatkina as she produced several excellent shots, including a backhand passing shot winner with the Russian pouncing on Kerber’s vulnerable second serves to grab the opening service break.
Monstrous forehands from the world number 19 then helped her to consolidate her lead and looked extremely high on confidence after her amazing run to the Dubai final and now in Indian Wells.
Whereas, Kerber looked out-of-sorts and was unable to find her groove in the early stages, being slow in her movement and leaky during her net approaches. She had the golden opportunity to get on board in the third game, but she was overly-aggressive on the crucial points as Kasatkina’s variety forced multiple errors from her, eventually coming up with an incredible defensive no-look backhand winner to earn the double-break.
It was one-way traffic as Kasatkina used her topspin forehand extremely well, and Kerber struggled at the baseline as the youngster started to dictate play. Kasatkina is also known for her jumping backhand winners, and that shot surfaced as she continued to ride on her momentum and sealed her third consecutive break with a forehand winner.
An on-court coaching session saw Kerber changing her tactics -- going for her shots and being more aggressive on the return. However, it was too late to produce a comeback as Kasatkina came up with her first ace, using the kick to produce the unreturnable 84 mph serve and grabbing the unbelievable bagel.
Kasatkina completes the huge upset in 57 minutes
Formidable forehands from Kerber finally showed a tinge of her vintage form, and she ended the rout by grabbing the confidence-boosting service hold in the opening game of the second set. Despite some tough resistance put up by the former world number one, Kasatkina still looked flawless on serve and her ability to retrieve every ball laid an immense amount of pressure on Kerber’s shoulder.
Kerber kept the scores tight at 2-3, but from there it was once again smooth sailing for Kasatkina as the German lost the rhythm in her game, especially after she sent a smash straight into the net at 40-30 in Kasatkina’s service game.
Another mishit forehand by Kerber gifted Kasatkina the break, alongside the perfect opportunity to serve out the match. Without facing a break point throughout the match for just the second time in her career, Kasatkina threw in yet another kick serve on match point, ending the match with an ace.