Wimbledon: Angelique Kerber ousts Daria Kasatkina in thriller

Angelique Kerber made her return to the semifinals of Wimbledon after beating Daria Kasatkina in the quarterfinals.

Wimbledon: Angelique Kerber ousts Daria Kasatkina in thriller
Angelique Kerber celebrates the win | Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images Europe
Angelique Kerber
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Daria Kasatkina

Daria Kasatkina and Angelique Kerber played out a high-quality thriller in the quarterfinals of the 2018 Wimbledon Championships, with the highest-ranked player remaining in the draw prevailing in a tough straight-sets match to move into the semifinals for the third time in her career.

Kerber prevailed 6-3, 7-5 after an hour and 28-minutes of exhilarating action, playing some clean tennis after hitting 16 winners to just 14 unforced errors. Playing with an array of shots, Kasatkina’s style was risky as it cost her 31 unforced errors throughout the encounter but it also came along with 33 winners. Although she managed to save six set points in what could be the game of the tournament, Kerber held on and served out the match to set up a first career meeting with Jelena Ostapenko in the last four.

Angelique Kerber celebrates grabbing the huge win | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe
Angelique Kerber celebrates grabbing the huge win | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe

Kerber overcomes slight wobble to take the first set

The world number 10 had a relatively shaky start to the match as she could not find her footing and was extremely passive in her shots, allowing Kasatkina to earn a break point in the opening game. However, the Russian was also feeling the nerves in just her second Major quarterfinal and she produced a slew of unforced errors and Kerber capitalized on this, rattling off 10 of the next 11 points to take an early 3-0 lead within a blink of an eye as Kasatkina failed to find her groove.

Nonetheless, Kasatkina managed to get onto the scoreboard with a solid service hold with the help of aggressive net play which left Kerber stranded at the baseline. The German was still remaining solid in her game, and she earned the golden opportunity to extend her lead in the sixth game. She owned two break points but that marked the beginning of Kasatkina’s mini-comeback. The Russian fired down an impressive second serve and hit four consecutive winners to save herself from the brink.

Daria Kasatkina's drop shots today were exceptionally excellent | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe
Daria Kasatkina's drop shots today were exceptionally excellent | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe

Failure to convert her chances certainly affected Kerber as she was immediately broken in the following game after a poor effort, allowing Kasatkina to blast winners after winners to return on serve out of nowhere. However, the Russian started to lose her focus and sent in two double-faults in succession to hand back the advantage, alongside the chance to serve out the set. Kerber made good use of her chance this time, closing out the high-quality opening set 6-3 after 33 minutes of play.

Kasatkina fights back but Kerber proves too strong

Kasatkina opened the second set in the best fashion possible, holding her serve to love while asserting her authority across the court. However, Kerber was high in confidence and rode on her unstoppable momentum to claim three games in a row to lead by a set and a break, edging closer to the win.

Angelique Kerber stood firm and ultimately closed out the win | Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images Europe
Angelique Kerber stood firm and ultimately closed out the win | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe

The Russian world number 14 then stopped the rout with a confidence-boosting service hold after producing a stunning pick-up volley winner on game point. That caused a halt to Kerber’s momentum which then witnessed to the start of a string of service breaks which lasted six games.

Kerber owned the break thrice, and served for the match once but failed to convert her chances as Kasatkina always fought back on every opportunity, pouncing on every little loophole she found. Her variety brought out the enthusiasm in Centre Court’s crowd and got everyone fired up with her stunning dropshots.

Daria Kasatkina continued fighting as she saved six match points but eventually still fell in straight sets | Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images Europe
Daria Kasatkina continued fighting as she saved six match points but eventually still fell in straight sets | Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images Europe

The last game of the match was truly a classic — one which saw Kasatkina saving six match points with some impressive shot-making skills before Kerber was seventh-time lucky. Stunningly, Kasatkina earned herself some new fans after hitting three dropshot winners in those six points, going along with a powerful forehand winner while Kerber committed two unforced errors of her own. Nonetheless, on the seventh match point, Kasatkina sent a forehand into the net which marked the conclusion of the match.