BNP Paribas Open, ??? Indian Wells SF Preview
?? (8) Venus Williams vs. ?? (20) Daria Kasatkina
Friday’s opening semi-final from the BNP Paribas Open sees the 8th seeded Venus Williams come up against the 20th seeded Daria Kasatkina. Williams and Kasatkina have both been very impressive on route to the semi-final stage in Indian Wells, both Williams and Kasatkina have reached the final 4 without dropping a set. The pair played out a couple of epic matches in 2016, both ended deep in a third set, split 1 win apiece. Expect another great battle between these two given how well they have both played in the Californian desert.
The evergreen Venus Williams is into yet another semi-final, 16 years after she reached world number 1 for the first time. Venus has had to overcome all types of different challenges over the last week and a half. Most notably, Venus was able to defeat Serena for the first time in 4 years in the third round with a 6-3 6-4 victory. Venus also claimed a straight set win over Sorana Cirstea before booking her spot in the final 4 with wins over Anastasija Sevastova and Carla Suarez Navarro, two potentially tricky opponents for the American. Venus’s commanding 6-3 6-2 win over Suarez Navarro on Thursday evening was particularly impressive.
Daria Kasatkina is in red-hot form. Kasatkina has won 11 of her last 14 matches which includes a semi-final appearance in St. Petersburg and a runner-up performance in Dubai last month. Kasatkina continues to be a giant killer. Kasatkina has beaten 5 top 10 opponents in the last 2 months including back-to-back victories over top 10 opponents to reach the biggest semi-final of her career in Indian Wells. Kasatkina has rocketed past 3 Grand Slam champions in a row: a 6-4 6-3 win over Sloane Stephens, 6-4 7-5 over Caroline Wozniacki and finally a 6-0 6-2 demolition of Angelique Kerber. The slow, high bouncing hard courts in Indian Wells are proving perfect for the heavy Kasatkina forehand and her amazing defensive abilities.
The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. Both matches were back in 2016, Kasatkina shocked Venus in Auckland, a 6-7 6-3 6-3 win before Venus outlasted Kasatkina in an epic at Wimbledon, 7-5 4-6 10-8. 2 years later, Kasatkina has improved dramatically but Venus has also improved. Who will emerge victorious on this occasion?