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19 March 2018, 04:06 | Susie Olson
Kasatkina Outlasts Venus Williams in Nearly Three-Hour Long Match to Reach Indian Wells Final
In the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open, 20-year-old rising stars Naomi Osaka and Daria Kasatkina pulled off two of the biggest upsets of their careers, knocking out Simona Halep and Venus Williams respectively.
American tennis star Venus Williams suffered a major blow as she bowed out of the Indian Wells Masters after going down against Daria Kasatkina of Russian Federation in a three-set thriller of semi-final clash here on Saturday.
After beating Katerina Siniakova in the round of 64, Kasatkina beat 2017 US Open champ Sloane Stephens, 2018 Australian Open champ Caroline Wozniacki, two-time Grand Slam victor Angelique Kerber and Williams, in that order.
As well as Osaka has been playing, Kasatkina should have just enough to come through this and lift her first Premier Mandatory title.
"Too many emotions and you can not, like, explain everything".
This final was unexpectedly one-sided as Kasatkina failed to display her best tennis, but Osaka put up a ideal display of aggressive tennis and controlled aggression, being consistent and solid at the same time.
'I just fought and that's maybe why I won because I refuse to lose, Halep said. She's improving so much, so she's a really risky player.
"Basically she was much better today than me, so she really deserved to win", the Russian said. "But I didn't. I was just sort of more relieved that it was over".
Along with Osaka, Kasatkina too is having an impressive run so far.
A wide backhand left her down a break after the first two games, and her opponent raced to a 5-2 lead.
After losing the first set, Kasatkina was visited by her coach on court.
"I didn't feel nervous", Kasatkina said of the moment before her next serve.
Williams, the tournament's No 8 seed, has split her only two career meetings with the 20th-seeded Kastakina.
Serena returned to the WTA Tour at Indian Wells but was eliminated in the third round when she lost 6-3, 6-4 to sister Venus.
Neither Kasatkina nor Osaka have much experience in big matches with the Japanese player's only career final coming in Tokyo in 2016 and her opponent's lone singles title coming in Charleston a year ago.
Consecutive service holds followed, though it was Osaka who faced more troubles, especially with Kasatkina earning another break point in the seventh game.
Highlights: Naomi Osaka beats Maria Sharapova in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open.
Sunday's final will be the first official match between Osaka and Kasatkina, though they know each other pretty well from the practice court. Should she win the tournament, Kasatkina would make her debut in the Top Ten.
Kasatkina began her tournament in the second round after receiving a bye. She did it for the second time at Indian Wells, winning their third round match 6-4, 6-3.
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