In a repeat of their Eastbourne three-setter two weeks ago, Alison Van Uytvanck and Daria Kasatkina played out another thriller, this time in the fourth round of the 2018 Wimbledon Championships. Little did anyone expect for the Belgian and the Russian to be competing in the second week at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, but Kasatkina once again triumphed with a similar 6-7, 6-3, 6-2 scoreline after two hours and six minutes of play.
It has been a resurgent week from Van Uytvanck after claiming the biggest victory of her career over defending champion Garbine Muguruza in the second round before making her first appearance in the second week at Wimbledon, but Kasatkina was even more impressive as she did not lose a set coming into this encounter and she will now face 10th seed and title favourite Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals tomorrow. This is Kasatkina’s second consecutive Major last eight appearance as well.
Van Uytvanck recovers to grab the first set
A shaky start from Kasatkina saw Van Uytvanck exploit her vulnerable serves and fire on all cylinders — blasting winners after winners to claim the opening break and seal eight of the first 11 points in the match. Kasatkina was starting to find her groove and attempting to be more aggressive, firing a stunning forehand passing winner to grab the immediate break back and ultimately levelled the scores at 2-2 with a simple service hold.
There were several exchanges of service breaks throughout the set, with Van Uytvanck once again taking the lead at 4-2 but unable to consolidate her break. For the first time in the match, Kasatkina earned the advantage after breaking serve for 6-5, before losing a 30-0 lead on serve to send the set into a tiebreak. Powerful play from the Belgian world number 47 then helped her earn a set point before closing out the opening set 7-6 after 54 minutes of play.
Kasatkina fights back from the brink
It was yet again a nervy start to the set from Kasatkina but this time the Russian managed to overcome her nerves and fended off multiple break points; producing a forehand winner which perfectly landed on the baseline to grab the confidence-boosting hold. Van Uytvanck followed suit by proving that she could do better, and she edged closer than ever to the huge victory after earning the first break in a marathon 12-point game which saw her save two game points.
Kasatkina found herself in deep trouble and had to start bucking up her game. Hence, she stepped up her play and made the immediate break back in the following game, levelling the scores with yet another forehand winner. The Russian was playing more aggressive than usual, which could be seen by her statistics of hitting 31 winners to just a mere 17 unforced errors throughout the match.
Van Uytvanck was the more proactive player after blasting 42 winners but that came with a heavy price tag of 38 unforced errors, most of which came during the crucial moments. Van Uytvanck lost the plot while Kasatkina gained confidence in her game, rattling off four games in succession to open a commanding 5-2 lead.
Though the Belgian showed some resistance by saving a set point in the eighth game and earning three break points out of nowhere, Kasatkina overcame a late wobble and came up with an excellent backhand down-the-line winner on set point to send the match into a decider.
Kasatkina grabs the important win
After losing the second set, Van Uytvanck’s mind was certainly affected which saw a lapse in focus, resulting in a double-fault in the opening game of the final set which ultimately paved the way for Kasatkina to draw the first blood. It was a string of comfortable service holds which followed but the Russian was simply unstoppable with Van Uytvanck being extremely inconsistent on her backhand wing.
The world number 47 was broken for the seventh time in the match before Kasatkina consolidated for a formidable 5-1 lead, placing herself just one game away from the win. Impressively enough, the world number 14 lost just one point on serve throughout the decider, easily serving out the final set 6-2 after failing to convert multiple match points on the return in the seventh game as Van Uytvanck was continuing to put in her best effort.