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By Chris Oddo | Tuesday March 13, 2018

 
Kasatkina

20-year-old Daria Kasatkina outfoxed World No.2 Caroline Wozniacki to book her spot in the last eight at the BNP Paribas Open.

Photo Source: Photo credit: Dan Huerlimann/Beelde Images

Daria Kasatkina's game is blossoming, and the wins are coming.

The Russian continued her strong 2018 campaign on Tuesday, scoring a decisive 6-4, 7-5 victory over World No.2 Caroline Wozniacki to book her spot in the last eight at the BNP Paribas Open for the second time.

The last time Kasatkina reached the quarterfinals at Indian Wells she was just 18 and ran out of gas in a one-sided loss against Karolina Pliskova. This year it feels like she has the legs to run a bit longer.

She certainly didn’t lack for energy on Tuesday as she rebounded from dropping the first three games to Wozniacki to take command of the match with superlative shotmaking. She controlled the ebb and flow of points and managed to get Wozniacki on a string—something that the Dane normally does to her opponents.


Wozniacki played well in spurts but could not consistently find ways to solve the Russian’s nuanced ground game, which was patient, cunning and unpredictable.

It all added up to a fifth career Top 2 victory, and a second straight against Wozniacki for the 20-year-old. Kasatkina now owns victories over all four reigning Grand Slam champions and she’ll bid for her first Indian Wells semifinal on Thursday against Angelique Kerber.

The German improved to 18-3 on the season with a straight-sets win over France’s Caroline Garcia.

It will be interesting to see if Kasatkina can carry her confidence and momentum forward.


Venus Battles, and Wins

Back less than 24 hours after notching an emotional—and emotionally tiring—victory over her legendary sister, Venus Williams took to Stadium 1 and put forth a workmanlike effort to take down Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova, 7-6(6), 6-4. The elder Williams sister has reached the quarterfinals at the BNP Paribas Open for the first time since 2001, but much of that gap is due to the fact that she did not play the event for 15 years.

Now that she’s back, Williams is relishing in the experience, happy to forgive and forget the scarring incident that has started to recede from the psyche of fans, pundits and players who were affected by the racial event that occurred at such a formative time for the Williams sisters.

Full credit must go to Serena Williams, who made the foray back to the Californa desert, and also for Venus, who followed suit the next season.

Now the fans at Indian Wells finally get to watch two of the greatest treasures of the sport, and the Williams sisters have more than delivered their share of entertainment in 2018.


Williams will move on to face Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain in the quarterfinals.

Naomi Osaka moved past Maria Sakkari of Greece to reach her first quarterfinal on Tuesday. Japan’s top player will face No.5-seeded Karolina Pliskova in Wedneday’s night session.

Other winners in round of 16 action on Tuesday were Croatia’s Petra Martic, who defeated Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets, and top-ranked Simona Halep who started the day by knocking off China’s Wang Qiang, 7-5, 6-1.

Halep will face Martic in Wednesday’s first quarterfinal.

Wozniacki’s loss ensures the Romanian of holding the No.1 ranking after Indian Wells, which means she’ll finish Miami with 21 weeks at No.1, tying her with Tracy Austin and Maria Sharapova for 13th on the all-time list.

 

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