Daria Kasatkina picked up a hard-earned victory by a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 score over Timea Babos in the first round of the Apia International Sydney. The Russian rallied from a set and a break down to earn a second round matchup with top seed Angelique Kerber.
Babos wins first set in comfortable fashion
Early control of the match was seized by the Hungarian as she imposed her attacking style on the match from the off, holding, saving a break point in the process and then commandeering a break for a quick 2-0 lead. It was 3-0 before Kasatkina would finally get on the board with a hold.
By that time, it was far too late to reverse the outcome of the set as Babos comfortably held to take the opener 6-3. The Hungarian's continued success with her serve and power seemed to be too much for the young Russian to handle.
Kasatkina stages comeback to force third set
Babos continued to assert herself, repeating the sequence of the opening set with a quick break and a love hold. At 2-0, ahead it appeared to be going all her way until Kasatkina staged a fightback from 3-1 down, winning eight straight points to draw level at 3-3 and finally placing doubt in Babos' mind.
The ninth game proved to be the difference at Kasatkina managed to save a break point to hold. Now leading, the Hungarian cracked for the first time as she was broken while serving to stay in the set. Kasatkina locked it up by a 6-4 score to force a third set that seemed far out of her reach not too long ago.
Kasatkina wraps up victory with commanding third set
An eerie trend was starting to develop as Kasatkina was broken to open the set for the third straight time. Again, the Russian would break back and after saving a break point to hold for a 2-1 lead, she was off and running.
That missed chance would prove to be the difference as the Russian broke for a 3-1 lead. She fought off a break point and coasted home from there, taking the final set 6-2 on a rash of unforced errors from Babos.