By Ros Satar, in Indian Wells

  • Daria Kasatkina [20] def. Angelique Kerber [10] 6-0 6-2
  • Venus Williams [8] def. Carla Suarez Navarro [27] 6-3 6-2
INDIAN WELLS, USA – The women’s semi-final line-up was completed as Daria Kasatkina sets up a meeting with Venus Williams at the BNP Paribas Open.

 

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Daria Kasatkina [20] def. Angelique Kerber [10] 6-0 6-2

Daria Kasatkina at the 2018 Australian Open

Daria Kasatkina of Russia in action at the 2018 Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament | (c) Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

While Angelique Kerber at least maintained her record of reaching the quarter-finals or better this season, her demise at the hands of Daria Kasatkina was emphatic.

Just as dominant as Kerber had been against Caroline Garcia for the loss of just two games but it was her turn to be on the receiving end of a barrage, as Kasatkina’s jumping backhands, slices and dices left the German frustrated from the very start of the match.

Breaking a listless looking Kerber to love in the opening game, the German tried to put up more of a fight in her second service game but found herself broken once more. Injury was added to insult with a third successive break as the first set went by.

It was a little more competitive from Kerber at the start of the second set, finally getting on the board, but another break swiftly followed. By this time, Kerber’s head was down, and Kasatkina really only had to keep the ball in play.

The final break put Kasatkina in the driving seat, duly closed out with a confident hold to love. Kerber this season has been far more consistent than 2017, but there is still obviously room for more improvement, as she assessed her performance.

“For me and for my game, it’s difficult how she’s playing. But I think from my side I was not able to play my game like I played the last few weeks. I couldn’t find the rhythm. Today again it was really tricky, and I make a lot of mistakes, easy ones, and not my day at the end.

“[Consistency] is coming, and I played already so many good matches this year. This one I will try to forget as fast as possible, but still I know how my game plan is. I know what I need to do.

“I’m always trying when I’m on court to improving my game. I have this in my mind, and sometimes you have days like today.Especially when you have a game like I have.”

As expected though, Kasatkina was as quirky as always in press. Her most recent interactions with her coach have had him geeing her up and persuading her to stay on court a couple more hours, when trying to turn a set deficit around.

She said, after her match: “With the head, I understand it’s a really important match, that it’s quarterfinals, big tournament, centre court, but I was just trying to turn all these things, yeah, and just go on the court without any doubts, without any, like, bad things, you know, which could put pressure on myself. Actually, my head was quite empty (smiling). That was the best point.”

In what is fast becoming typcial Kasatkina style, she is not at all bothered about the tactics to employ against whoever she might meet, but more when the match is scheduled.

“I don’t have any expectation from this match. The only thing is that I want to play at 7:00 tomorrow (smiling). It’s not about the player, absolutely. I just want to be on the central court, prime time. In the evening something special is coming from here, from the heart.”

 

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Venus Williams [8] def. Carla Suarez Navarro [27] 6-3 6-2

Venus Williams talks to the press at the BNP Paribas Open, WTA Indian Wells 2018

Venus Williams of the United States talks to the media at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open

In the past the head to head between last American woman standing, Venus Williams and Carla Suárez Navarro had been evenly matched. The shared the wins to 3-3 until Williams surged ahead with the last three wins, and today’s straight sets victory looked routine.

Williams, who of course faced her returning sister Venus early in the tournament has yet to drop a set although she duid face a sterner test from Anastasija Sevastova on her way to the quarter-final.

Suárez Navarro was not without her chances – she was unable to convert on three break points and then had to deflect one on her serve before Williams was rewarded for the second time of asking, with a break in the middle of the first set.

The start of the second set was maybe a bit more nervy as the pair traded breaks before Williams put the pedal to the metal to break the Spaniard late in the second set to close out the match and ease into her third semi-final in the Californian desert.

As always Williams was reticent to be drawn on the match-up – they played twice in 2016 with Kasatkina as a teenager getting the win over the veteran Grand Slam champion in Auckland before Williams beat her at Wimbledon later that year.

Williams said, after her win: “I don’t have any special plan. Really just try to play well. I only remember one. So I will try to remember the other one at some point.”

The women’s semi-finals are not before 7pm on Stadium 1 (Saturday 2am, GMT).

 

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