Australian Open: Serena Williams - Daria Kasatkina
Serena saw off her opponent with great ease and in double quick time, but I am certain she will face sterner opposition today and regardless of what happens this week, I am sure that we will be hearing an awful lot more about Daria Kasatkina, who looks the real deal. Kasatkina is only 18 yo, but has been pestering the life out of her coach and team to let her turn pro for a couple of years and when she started to see what Belinda Benic was doing, she could not wait any longer. After winning Junior Roland Garros last year, she entered the US Open and won five matches, winning through qualifying and into the last 32, this is now her second ever slam event and it is clear they hold few fears for her. In the interim, she has already got her ranking up to #69 by winning six matches in Moscow and beating Venus Williams in Auckland a couple of weeks ago, after dropping the first set on a tie break, which tells you much about her battling qualities and she is not going to wilt like most other 18 yo newcomers would on this stage, playing an all time great.
Dasha thinks she is better than Benic, she might not say so in as many words, but it is clear from interviews and this is a confident young woman: “I was a little bit upset when Bencic started to play earlier and she started to beat other players and showing results a little bit earlier than me."When she started to play with the pros, I was still playing juniors and I was talking with my coach telling him ‘I want to play pro, I want to start to play pro, why am I still playing juniors (?) and he told me like ‘Dasha, be cool, you just have to get some experience from everywhere and really, the experience from juniors, it was great. "A lot of experience and good memories, I don’t regret it.” Benic is obviously a "fan" and said that "Kasatkina has a very different game, she plays smarter than the other players.”
Win, lose or draw, seven games is too much and I suspect more than me , that Dasha will be shocked herself if the match is not closer than that and with many opponents already having lost to Williams before they step onto court, that self belief and positive mental attitude is HUGE.
Daria Kasatkina +7 games 2.0 Pinnacle Sports/ Sportmarket Pro