Monday, June 04, 2018

RG 8.5- Kasatkinus Resumptus

On Monday, it was time for some unfinished business.

Yesterday, though she dealt with a wonky (to be kind) serve and several lapses in her decision making on a number of important points, #14 Dasha Kasatkina led #2 Caroline Wozniacki 7-6(5)/3-3 when she allowed the Dane (helped her, really) to convince the tournament officials that it was too dark out to play (it wasn't).

It was a gambler's move, as she was close to taking out the Australian Open champ for a third straight time in 2018 even while playing what was often a "B-" game (or mabye "C+" considering her serve) while Wozniacki became more and more frustrated with her slow serves and failed to adjust to her variety of pace.

Fifteen hours after they last struck a ball on Chatrier, the two women returned on Monday to put this one in the books. For the Russian, the stoppage would either turn out to be a footnote, or a huge regret. For the Dane, she'd gotten the second chance she wanted, and now it was a matter of doing something with it.

Kasatkina was set to serve first, with the knowledge that the worst thing she could do today would be to immediately drop serve and give Wozniacki a break lead in the set. The world #2 had to be hungry for such an occurrence. Anything to bend the momentum back in her favor (remember, she'd served for the 1st set, and led 4-2 in the TB) and make the overnight reset worth it. With a break, a quick hold from the Dane and the set could be over, and the match suddenly even, in a flash.

Kasatkina didn't open with three consecutive DF as she had a day earlier, but she did have her first on the third point of the game to fall behind 15/30. But she remained steady and avoided disaster, reaching a drop shot and seeing Wozniacki be unable to pull off a successful pass, holding to go up 4-3. Kasatkina won a 32-shot rally when Wozniacki flew a shot long, taking a 15/30 lead a game later. The Dane missed long on her lone GP, and the "disaster scenario" was suddenly on *her* racket. A Kasatkina passing shot gave her her first BP. Wozniacki saved it, but Kasatkina got another with a forehand crosscourt winner.

By this point it was clear that the Russian had come equipped with her "assassin's googles" secured tightly to her head. Rather than tentatively step into this resumption of play situation with any worry, she had an "I got this" attitude, as well as a far better control of her shots, pace, accuracy and tactical plans for attack than she'd had twenty-four hours earlier. Wozniacki, meanwhile, had found no additional answers after a good night's rest.

After another BP save, Kasatkina continued to fire away and got a third BP with a big forehand into the corner that Wozniacki couldn't get back. Finally, another long rally went into Kasatkina's column when the Dane pushed a shot wide. Up 5-3, the Russian found herself serving for the match and her maiden slam QF appearance. Her confidence had not wavered yet on the day, and it wouldn't here, either.

Wozniacki's inability to keep a drop shot response inside the lines put the Russian two points from the win, and the brewing Danish threat held over until today was essentially revealed as little more than a rumor. Kasatkina reached triple MP at 40/love. She didn't put away the win on her first try, but Wozniacki's wide forehand (on an overrule by the chair umpire) did the honors for her a point later.

Kasatkina's 7-6(5)/6-3 win, courtesy of a sweep of the match's final three games today, gives her seven Top 10 wins this season, five of them coming against Top 3 players. Since the start of last year, the Russian has posted six wins versus the Top 2. She'll face #10 Sloane Stephens next.

=2016 (2)=
#7 V.Williams, #8 Vinci
=2017 (3)=
#1 Kerber, #2 Kerber, #2 Halep
=2018 (7)=
#1 Wozniacki, #2 Wozniacki, #2 Wozniacki, #3 Muguruza, #3 Muguruza, #8 V.Williams, #10 Kerber

So, if the ends justify the means, I guess Dasha knew what she was doing yesterday. Mea culpa.

All for now. More later on Day 9.


Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Hmmm, so Matchus Nevermindus on Serena/Sharapova, then?

Mon Jun 04, 09:39:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

This eerily feels just like Sharapova's injury last year that took her out of two slams. Just so hard to go from zero to 100. Although any other grass event before Wimbledon was a question mark, now even that looks very shaky.

Two Russians in the final eight for the first time since 2014-Sharapova/Kuznetsova.

Mon Jun 04, 10:07:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Cilic is leading right now. I need to give him props, as he seems to have been the one person who has consistently put up results since the Big Four fell apart.

Ranking notes- Babos stays alive for #1 in doubles, while Kerber Kerb stomping Garcia makes singles interesting. That win knocks Ostapenko out of the top 10, and her next match against Halep decides whether Wozniacki or Halep leaves France as #1.

Mon Jun 04, 11:49:00 AM EDT  

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