WTA Madrid: Roberta Vinci fends off the tough resistance of Daria Kasatkina

In a blockbuster first-round clash at the Mutua Madrid Open, Roberta Vinci prevailed in a one-sided three-set match against Daria Kasatkina to earn a place in the second round.

WTA Madrid: Roberta Vinci fends off the tough resistance of Daria Kasatkina
Roberta Vinci looked great today | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
Roberta Vinci
2 1
Daria Kasatkina

Experience prevails youth, as shown by Roberta Vinci in her three-set win over Daria Kasatkina in the first round of the Mutua Madrid Open. In a match where one single momentum shift decided the winner of the sets, Vinci got the better of the rising star as she earned this morale-boosting victory to set up a second-round meeting with either Kristyna Pliskova or Simona Halep.

Vinci overcomes slow start

A seemingly strong start for Kasatkina made her on course for an early break of serve as she came from 40-15 down in the opening game to earn two crucial break point opportunities in the early stages. However, unnecessary unforced errors caused the Russian to waste both of those pivotal points as Vinci eventually held her nerves to narrowly hold onto her service game to start the match with. Both of them followed it up with holds to 30, before the Italian unexpectedly made the first breakthrough as her offense was just too much for Kasatkina, who gave away the first service break of the day.

Roberta Vinci with her trademark backhand sliced shot | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
Roberta Vinci with her trademark backhand sliced shot | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

The momentum shift to Vinci after the youngster failed to convert her two break points proved to be costly as the former Top 10 player strolled to consolidate the break and break serve once more to be just a game away from winning the first set. The experienced player did not disappoint, converting her second set point to successfully serve out the set after just a mere 28 minutes, edging her closer to a confidence-boosting victory. One amazing statistic is that Kasatkina failed to hit a single winner in the first set, together with 10 unforced errors.

Kasatkina fights back

The start of the second set was much kinder to Kasatkina as she had a love hold to get her comeback started. Her chances of a comeback increased after the next game since she finally earned her first service break of the day and took the lead for the first time, which she consolidated in the next game as the momentum seemed to have shifted to the Charleston winner. With Vinci misfiring and losing her focus, Kasatkina took advantage and eventually closed out the set 6-1, leveling the match at one set all after just 52 minutes of play.

Roberta Vinci celebrates her win | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
Roberta Vinci celebrates her win | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Vinci fights off Kasatkina

Kasatkina had a chance to break serve in the opening game, but some great serving from the veteran saved her from any trouble as she held her serve narrowly to get off to a great start in the final set. Losing a 30-0 lead in the next game, the Russian instead got herself into deep trouble as she went down a break with the momentum making its way back to Vinci once again. Everything was going wrong for Kasatkina as she was struggling on the defense and the Italian was stepping up her game, causing her to go down 0-5 within a blink of an eye. Despite her winning a consolation game right at the end to prevent herself from being bageled, Vinci eventually sealed the victory within just 79 minutes and advanced to the second round.

Both players meet at the net after the match | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
Both players meet at the net after the match | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography