By Gerard Mulreaney (@gerardmulreaney)
Daria Kasatkina came out on top in her first round clash with promising Danish teenager Clara Tauson at the St Petersburg Open.
Tauson, who claimed her maiden WTA Tour title a couple of weeks ago in Lyon, won through to the main draw without dropping a set. It was a clash Kasatkina wasn’t necessarily looking forward to:
“I wasn’t happy about my draw, when I find out who the qualifier was, but it was a very good match and I’m happy that I was able to win.”
In a game that lasted almost two hours Kasatkina, eventually took the match 6-4, 7-6.
The eighth seeded Russian started the better, and raced into a 5-2 lead. Tauson eventually found her rhythm to get back into the set, breaking Kasatkina’s serve. She had her chance to break again in the tenth game of the set at 30-30 but the Russian held serve to take the first set.
Both players traded breaks of serve early in the second set before Kasatkina again took hold of the match midway through the set.
Tauson wasn’t going to lie down however, and three successive breaks of serve later meant the set went to a tiebreak.
Kasatkina dominated the tiebreak, winning 7-0 to take the match in straight sets. The victory for Kasatkina sets up a second round tie with Belarussian Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who beat Ana Bogdan in the first round.
She was delighted with the win, “I’m happy with the win. Playing at home. It’s, something special, and especially the first matches as they can be tricky. I’m happy with the level of the game and how the match was going. I’m happy to play another match at home with the crowd, especially now, as it counts 10 times more to play in front of the people.”
It was good for her to come through such a really tough match, as it sets her up nicely for her battle with Sasnovich
“We know each other a long time and I know her best sides and her weaknesses. She knows mine too so there’s nothing new, but she is one of the players who likes to play indoors. She has a brilliant backhand and dangerous serve so it’s going to be in an interesting match. I’m just enjoying playing in one of my favourite tournaments,” added Kasatkina.
She was very impressed with the young Danish player:
“She is very aggressive player, as I found out during the match. Her backhand was very dangerous, especially the one down the line. She’s trying to catch all the balls on the rise, trying to play really fast. Also, she’s moves really well. She’s a really dangerous upcoming player for sure, especially on the fast surfaces.”
In today’s other matches there were wins for fellow Russians Kamilla Rakhimova, Margarita Gasparyan, who knocked out seventh seed Kristina Mladenovic,and fifth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. There were wins also for Katerina Siniakova, Jaqueline Adina Cristian, Xinyu Wang and Tereza Martincova.