Daria Kasatkina vs Naomi Osaka, Indian Wells Final Preview

BNP Paribas Open, ??? Indian Wells Preview #BNPPO18
?? Final: ?? (20) Daria Kasatkina vs ?? Naomi Osaka

The next generation is here! The first premier mandatory event will come to an exciting finale on Sunday as the 20th seeded Daria Kasatkina takes on Naomi Osaka, a pair 20-year-old’s. Kasatkina and Osaka have both beaten several quality opponents on route to the Indian Wells final, both dropping just 1 set on route to the final. This will be the first career meeting between Kasatkina and Osaka, two inexperienced players on this huge stage. With so much on the line, who will step up and make the most of this golden opportunity?

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action during the semi-final of the 2018 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Kasatkina and Osaka will both be playing for the biggest title of their careers. In fact, Osaka is yet to win a WTA title and has only played in 1 final, beaten by Caroline Wozniacki in Tokyo in 2016. Kasatkina has 1 career title to her name, a triumph in Charleston on green clay last year. Kasatkina has played in 2 other finals, including a straight set loss to Elina Svitolina last month in Dubai.

Daria Kasatkina’s route to the final has been extremely impressive. The Russian stared the week with a straight set win over Katerina Siniakova before claiming 3 consecutive straight set wins over Grand Slam champions: 6-4 6-3 over Sloane Stephens, 6-4 7-5 over Caroline Wozniacki and 6-0 6-2 over Angelique Kerber. Kasatkina secured her spot in the biggest final of her career with a gripping 4-6 6-4 7-5 win over Venus Williams, a fourth consecutive victory over a Grand Slam champion and a 6th victory over a top 10 opponent in the last month and a half. Kasatkina was behind for the large majority of her win over Venus, at 4-5 0-30 down and on a second serve in the deciding set, it looked like Kasatkina was gone. The Russian showed great heart, she went on to drop just 1 point from that stage to claim one of the biggest wins of her career.

Naomi Osaka’s route to the final has also been impressive. Osaka has beaten 3 former / current world number 1’s. Osaka started the event with straight set wins over Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska, great wins over 2 very different opponents. Osaka then went on to beat Sachia Vickery in 3 sets before being pushed to a third set for the only time at this event as she beat Maria Sakkari in the fourth round. Osaka’s two most recent victories were arguably her most impressive, a 6-2 6-3 demolition of Karolina Pliskova and a 6-3 6-0 thrashing of Simona Halep. To drop a combined 8 games in wins over Pliskova and Halep is outstanding. There is no doubt that Osaka has shown consistency that we have never previously seen from her, a new sense of maturity and belief is evident in her game.

This match-up will feature a fascinating contrast in styles. The hard, flat hitting of Osaka against the heavy game of Kasatkina and the Russian’s outstanding movement. It will be interesting to see how this match pans out in the first career meeting between the two and with so much on the line, who will prevail?

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