Dominant Daria: Kasatkina routs Kerber at Indian Wells

ABS-CBN Sports on Mar 16, 2018 08:21 AM
Dominant Daria: Kasatkina routs Kerber at Indian Wells
FILE - Daria Kasatkina of Russia returns a ball to Elina Svitolina of Ukraine at the final match of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

By Beth Harris, Associated Press

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Daria Kasatkina kept her focus for all of 58 minutes.

That's how long it took to dispatch former No. 1 Angelique Kerber 6-0, 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday.

The 20-year-old Russian hasn't dropped a set in four matches at Indian Wells, knocking out U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens and No. 2-ranked Caroline Wozniacki along the way.

"Maybe, yeah, from the side or with the score it looks like it was simple, but of course it's not," Kasatkina said. "I knew that in one moment if I will lose focus just for a second, they will come back and then the big battle, five hours again, will start."

No chance against Kerber.

The German never managed a break point against Kasatkina's serve. The Russian connected on 82 percent of her first serves, winning 22 of 32 first-serve points.

"This one I will try to forget as fast as possible," Kerber said.

In the men's quarterfinals, Borna Coric of Croatia upset No. 7 seed Kevin Anderson 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3) for his first win in four tries against the South African.

Coric next faces either No. 1 Roger Federer or Chung Hyeon of South Korea, who were to meet Thursday night.

Besides Stephens and Australian Open winner Wozniacki, Kasatkina has beaten the other current Grand Slam titleholders in the past year: French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza.

That's part of the reason for her impressive rise in the rankings over the last three years, and she's guaranteed to make her highest move yet as a result of her deep run in the desert. She came into the tournament at No. 19, two spots lower than her career-best. She could move to 15th or 16th, and has a shot at the top 10 if she would win the title.

But that's more than she cared to consider, especially against Kerber.

"Actually, my head was quite empty," she said, smiling.

Whenever she can get away, Kasatkina can be found in Barcelona. Her favorite soccer team is there, and she loves the architecture, the seaside location, and the food, with paella and tapas her top choices. And a little bit of wine, too, even though she's not 21.

"In Europe it doesn't matter," she said. "With good company, of course, you can have a glass or two."

Kasatkina will play either No. 8 seed Venus Williams or 27th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain in the semis.

Regardless of the opponent, she wants to play at night.

"I just want to be on the central court, prime time," she said, smiling. "In the evening, something special is coming from here, from the heart."

The other women's semifinal is already set: No. 1 Simona Halep against Japan's Naomi Osaka, another 20-year-old making a huge run through the draw. Osaka's victims have included Maria Sharapova, No. 31 Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 5 Karolina Pliskova.

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