Daria Kasatkina’s strong start to 2022 continued to get better after upsetting No.2 seed Garbine Muguruza 6-4, 6-4 at the Sydney Tennis Classic. Kasatkina, who reached the last four at Melbourne Summer Set 2 last week before losing to Amanda Anisimova, reached her second semifinal in as many weeks. She is yet to drop a set in Sydney. Notably, the victory is also Kasatkina’s first Top 5 win since beating Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round of Roland Garros 2018. In the opening set, Kasatkina was impressive on serve, as the 24-year-old landed 67% of her first serves, won 83% of those points and also did not face a break point. In the fifth game, she captured the Muguruza serve for the only break of the set.
Her serve accuracy, however, fell significantly in the next set. Kasatkina’s first-serve percentage dropped to 57%. Three times she went up a break, and twice she was broken back. But, Kasatkina somehow held on to secure the impressive win. After the match, Kasatkina said, “I think this is the best start of my career ever. I think I never start the season that well. To win always feels amazing.”
“Doesn’t matter if you are winning the matches right before a slam and you maybe feel you’re tired – it doesn’t matter, because better you win the matches than you lose first round, and then you go and you have one week to practice, but for what? You have been practicing the whole preseason. So the most important is the confidence, and you get it by winning matches. This is the most important, because at the end, OK, tiredness can affect of course, but the most important is to feel confidence while you’re playing.”
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As a result of her win, Kasatkina will next take on No.5 seed Paula Badosa, who overcame Belinda Bencic 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 in 2 hours and 35 minutes. “The key was to stay fighting until the end, like I always try to do,” Badosa said. “Accepting her good moments, because I think she played amazing and I had a lot of chances and I wasn’t taking them. Then I think in the third set I was going for it, very aggressive, and that’s what gave me the match.”
Meanwhile, Kasatkina said, “It’s always nice to have these kind of stories where you start playing some Tennis Europe tournaments and U12 together. And out of nowhere, you’re playing semifinals in the big tournaments against each other.”