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Daria Kasatkina upsets Venus Williams, to play Naomi Osaka in Indian Wells final

Daria Kasatkina won a marathon 4-6 6-4 7-5 battle against Venus Williams at the BNP Paribas Open on Friday to advance to her first final at Indian Wells. Naomi Osaka stunned top seed Simona Halep.

tennis Updated: Mar 18, 2018 12:05 IST
Beth Harris
Beth Harris
Associated Press, California
Daria Kasatkina,Venus Williams,BNP Paribas Open
Daria Kasatkina, of Russia, reacts after defeating Venus Williams, of the United States, 4-6, 6-4. 7-5 during the semifinals at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament on March 16, 2018, in Indian Wells, California. (AP)

Daria Kasatkina upset Venus Williams 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 in a nearly three-hour baseline struggle to reach the final of the BNP Paribas Open on Friday night. Kasatkina was two points from defeat, trailing 4-5 and 0-30 in the third set when Williams committed four straight errors as the 20-year-old Russian tied it 5-all.

Venus Williams won just two more points as Kasatkina took the last two games to close out the match in 2 hours, 48 minutes. Kasatkina dropped her racket near the baseline and covered her face with her hands as she walked to the net.

After shaking hands, Daria Kasatkina pumped her fists and shook her head slightly as if in disbelief at beating the 37-year-old American and advancing to the biggest final of her young career.

Kasatkina will face Naomi Osaka, a 20-year-old from Japan, in the final. Osaka stunned top-seeded Simona Halep 6-3, 6-0.

Venus Williams, of the United States, hits a forehand to Daria Kasatkina, of Russia, during the semifinals at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament Friday, March 16, 2018, in Indian Wells, California. (AP)


After losing the first set, Kasatkina was visited by her coach on court. Philippe Dehaes told her, “She’s 37, you’re 20. Make her work a lot.”

When she wasn’t trading shots from the baseline, a nervy Kasatkina fooled Williams with drop shots, including two that landed just over the net near the sideline. The Russian tossed up lobs over the 6-foot-1 American - some worked, some didn’t, but she was undeterred.

There were 14 service breaks in the match.

Venus Williams rallied from 3-1 down to win the first set. She trailed 3-1 again in the second and tied it 3-all when Kasatkina was broken on a double fault.

Daria Kasatkina in action versus Venus Williams at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. (USA TODAY Sports)


Daria Kasatkina won the last four games in a row to take the second set. The players duelled through eight deuces in an epic eighth game, with the Russian turning back six break points against her. Venus Williams pulled a forehand wide to lose the game.

Kasatkina’s coach visited her again before the third set.

“You go for it?” he asked her.

“Sure,” she replied, and they slapped hands.

Venua Williams served a love game to go up 5-4. She led love-30 on Kasatkina’s serve in the next game before her forehand deserted her.

Williams double-faulted twice in a row to drop serve and trail 6-5. Kasatkina won on her second match point when Williams netted a backhand.

Kasatkina now owns a 2-1 record against Williams, who won 10-8 in the third round at Wimbledon in 2016.

Juan Martin del Potro defeated No. 31 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, and Milos Raonic beat 18th-seeded American Sam Querrey 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 to reach the men’s semifinals.

First Published: Mar 17, 2018 12:16 IST