Women’s Australian Open, R3 Preview for Friday: Serena Williams v Daria Kasatkina

Serena Williams

While Serena Williams’s eighth of the draw has been left without any seeds, her third round opponent should not be overlooked; Serena plays the 18-year-old, Daria Kasatkina. The young Russian is playing just her second Grand Slam main draw and for the second time, has reached the third round. Kasatkina upset Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the first round with a 6-3 6-3 victory and backed that up with another convincing performance, defeating Ana Konjuh, 6-4 6-3. Kasatkina had already opened her year with a three set victory over the defending champion in Auckland, Venus Williams and has been showing plenty of promise over the past year.

In 2015, Kasatkina won five ITF titles, her biggest towards the end of the year, winning Saint-Malo with victories over Kaia Kanepi and Laura Siegemund. Kasatkina also had a fluttering of appearances at WTA tournaments where she more than held her own; she qualified for the main draw of Bucharest, losing to Julia Goerges in the first round. One week later in Bad Gastein, she qualified for the main draw once more and this time, beat Goerges in the second round to advance to the quarter-finals where she pushed Sara Errani to three sets on clay. Kasatkina had a slice of luck in getting into the US Open main draw as a lucky loser but grabbed her opportunity with both hands, beating Daria Gavrilova and Konjuh to reach the third round. She finished her year with a super run in Moscow, coming through qualifying and dismantling a nervous, Carla Suárez Navarro en route to the semi-finals.

Serena has looked decent through two rounds of the Australian Open. Camila Giorgi was a dangerous first round opponent but she raised her level up for the occasion, edging through in two tight sets, 6-4 7-5. In the second round, she powered past Su-Wei Hsieh, 6-1 6-2. While Hsieh played some neat angles, her serve was not up to scratch and Serena didn’t drop serve once, saving three break points.

Head-to-head record: Unsurprisingly, this will be a first career match-up between Serena and Daria.

Analysis: I’d fancy this to be Serena’s toughest match of the tournament so far. Kasatkina has looked in good form and has adapted well to the big stage with her jump up to playing at WTA level. She has a really sound game and what appears to be a good head on her shoulders. While I wouldn’t put this match on upset alert, I would give Kasatkina a set. Serena often has one or two matches in a Slam run where she struggles and with Kasatkina very much an unknown quantity, my hunch is that this could be that match.

Prediction: S.Williams d. Kasatkina in 3 sets

Photo in this post by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

14 thoughts on “Women’s Australian Open, R3 Preview for Friday: Serena Williams v Daria Kasatkina

  1. Serena in 2. Kasatkina is good but not amazingly good. Her only weapon is youth and she is quick. However, she can’t handle powers. Venus gifted >50 unforced errors in Auckland to her the winner.

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    • Whoever said Serena will win this match in 3 sets, they haven’t done a good job of predicting Serena’s results in her matches. They said against Giorgi, Serena will win in 3 sets. But, Serena won in two close sets. For me, that’ll be two sets in this match too.

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      • You beat my sister …here I come! Bang!Bang!Bang!(I am joking). If you watched Kasatkina vs Hibino match, you obviously knew that Kasatkina has difficulty to handle top spins sending to both corners. I think Kasatkina may be able to rip one set off from Serena if they play on clay. Unfortunately, hard court is Serena forte.

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  2. Kasatkina will put up a good fight against Serena. But, it’ll be difficult for her to predict Serena’s serve and shot placement. Serena’s serve and movement have both looked so much better – she has kept the number of double faults low and she does not look sluggish or flat-footed in the beginning of her matches. In her press conference after her win against Su Wei Hsieh, Serena already said that she was going to ask Venus how Kasatkina’s game is, since Kasatkina defeated Venus in Auckland a couple weeks ago. My bet is that Serena will win this match in two sets: 6-1 6-1, 6-1 6-2, 6-3 6-0, 6-3 7-5, or 6-3 6-4

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  3. Serena has dropped a set at this stage in every grand slam since Wimbledon 2014, and I think this match will be similar to laSt year’s match against svitolina where she dropped the first set to a young uprising star and came back and dominated the next two sets. Absorbing Serena power and being quick can cause Serena problems

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    • Patrick Mouratoglou has been helping Serena with her movement to help her stay strong in her matches from start-to-finish, which has helped her tremendously. She has only been broken once in the tournament so far in her first two matches. Kasatkina has already been broken five times in her first two matches, has a -18 difference in winners & errors (39 winners, 57 unforced errors), and a -1 in aces-to-double faults (7, 8). But, Serena has had a +7 difference in her winners & errors (45 winners, 38 errors), as well as a +11 in her serves (16 aces, 5 double faults). There’ll be a huge amount of pressure on Kasatkina to be the third person to defeat both Venus and Serena in the same year. We have seen Andrea Petkovic play against Venus and Serena in the same tournament in Stanford 2014. But, the result was that Petkovic was only able to defeat Venus and obviously NOT Serena. Since Wimbledon 2014, she won the 2015 Australian Open, 2015 French Open, & 2015 Wimbledon Open only dropping nine sets in those three tournaments. She won the 2014 US Open without dropping a set and she dropped no more than three games per set in that tournament. I believe that Serena made a responsible mature decision to take the rest of the year off after she lost in the semi-finals of the 2015 US Open to help herself recover and get ready for the Australian Open this year. Her serve and movement both have been looking much better – her number of double faults have gone down and she does move around on the court more. To me, this match is definitely in favor of Serena. Serena wins in straights sets – that’s my prediction.

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      • Well said. In fact, Serena did not start slow in her first 2 matches. She looks very fresh this time. I watched all her matches last year and this time around (except Hopman Cup). I really can tell the difference of her forms. I also suspect the court speed is tailored made for power hitters or someone who like to play on the fast surface. It will definitely favour Serena. With all my respects, Venus is beatable by anyone nowadays, but NOT Serena.

        Nevertheless, I watched two great matches yesterday (Jelena vs Siegemund, Cornet vs Zhang). The atmospheres were so great. I lost my voice a bit after Zhan defeated Cornet…loll!

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      • Serena starting well in a Slam doesn’t always mean she’ll win it. In fact more often than not it’s when she starts looking relatively unimpressive that she wins the title. She won her first match in Aus, RG and Wimbledon in 2014 with 61 62 scorelines and look how those ended…

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  4. Serena had an up-and-down year in 2014, up until the US Open Series because she was trying to reach Chrissie Evert and Martina Navratilova’s records of 18 Grand Slam titles back then. But now that she has been able to surpass that record and complete her second “Serena Slam”, she is doing a much better job of taking care of her body and fitness. Her game is also more solid too. If there’s anyone who does start well in a Grand Slam, but doesn’t end well, I suggest it could be either Wozniacki, Ivanovic, Azarenka, Sharapova, or Halep.

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    • I do agree as well, but will respectfully exclude Maria, cause usually when it doesn’t end well for her she’s either been
      1. Beaten by Serena( needless to say, you know how that goes) or
      2. Some really inspired opponent who forces her out of her comfort zone( that includes causing her to error out or double fault herself to oblivion).
      I just can’t fault her willingness to fight.

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