Thursday’s Set Points, WTA Indian Wells: Kasatkina dazzles, Venus next in the semi-finals

The semi-finals are set at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open and it’s a dreamy final four with Simona Halep, Naomi Osaka, Daria Kasatkina and Venus Williams left to battle it out for the title. I can’t remember the last time that I was *this* excited for a semi-final line-up. Thursday’s Set Points includes a review of Kasatkina-Kerber, wild card news for Miami and quick thoughts on Friday night’s semi-finals. Read on for 10 stories from day 9 of main draw action at Indian Wells.

Kasatkina beats Kerber

Daria Kasatkina is into her first Premier Mandatory semi-final after a terrific performance to beat Angelique Kerber, 6-0 6-2 in just 58 minutes! I’ve watched a lot of Dasha matches and I think this was the best performance I have witnessed from her start to finish.

Kerber didn’t have her best day with a lot of errors. Kasatkina started so strong and it was hard for the German player to get a foothold in the match. There’s also a case that Kasatkina forced quite a few of the errors with the way she was playing.

Kasatkina used all the tools she has been implementing so effectively in Indian Wells. She mixed up the pace beautifully and was dominant with the topspin forehand. The jumping backhand winner not only looks great but has been very successful. Everything was just working perfectly. Kasatkina was serving at 82% (!) of first serves in and didn’t face one break point. Kasatkina’s first serve percentage has been high all week at 71% average through four matches.

Even at 6-0 *5-2, I was nervous for Dasha because she hasn’t always been the best closer. This was amazing – jumping backhand winner, forehand winner and a kick serve ace on match point. Take a bow, Dasha. Bottle this confidence  and run with it!

Kasatkina hot shot!

This shot from Dasha in the first set has to be a contender for shot of the month.

While I was sleeping…

Venus Williams vaulted into the last four with a 6-3 6-2 win over Carla Suárez Navarro in just 71 minutes.

Indian Wells SF line-up 😍

This is an awesome slate of semi-finals set for Friday night. I’ll be catching up on WTA TV in the morning, avoiding all live scores and social media!

SF Preview #1 – Halep vs. Osaka

Halep has never lost to Osaka in three previous meetings and won their last match at the Australian Open, 6-3 6-2. Considering Osaka’s recent form, surely it has to be a closer match than in Melbs?! Halep will need to improve from her previous performances in Indian Wells and I think she will. Interesting match-up. I want to go for Osaka but I feel like Halep can handle her game. Simona in 3.

SF Preview #2 – V.Williams vs. Kasatkina

My goodness this could be a classic. Please let it be a classic! Kasatkina’s had her best two weeks on tour in Dubai and Indian Wells, and totally peaked vs. Kerber. One of things I most admire about Venus is her ability to adapt her game for the opponent. Both players have yet to drop a set this tournament so something has to give here.

The pair’s only previous match was an absolute cracker at Wimbledon in 2016 that made my top 20 best matches countdown. Venus won, 7-5 4-6 10-8 in two hours and 47 minutes. I’m going for Dasha here but i’m a tad wary because she’s going up against a ledge and a home crowd at night, and I think it will be a daunting situation.

SF Polls

A duo of polls for the 2018 Indian Wells semi-finals. Who you got? I like all four permutations for the final A LOT – fave would have to be Kasatkina vs. Osaka because they’ve never played before and I think their styles would combine for an interesting match. The hug at the end would be precious 😂. Dasha and Naomi are both going for their first big title. In fact, Osaka is going for her first *ever* title!

Miami Open wild cards

The list of wild cards were announced for next week’s Miami Open on Wednesday. There was some confusion with Roberta Vinci initially on the list of main draw wild cards, but actually in qualifying. The list includes Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Whitney Osuigwe, Bernarda Pera, Ajla Tomljanovic, Amanda Anisimova and Claire Liu. The Miami Open Twitter account responded to a question about Marion Bartoli not being on the list to say that she “wanted more time to train before returning”.

Lucie and Domi both out of Miami

Lucie Safarova and Dominika Cibulkova have both pulled out of Miami due to illness. The pair played out an absorbing fourth round match in Miami last year so it will be a hit on the ranking for both. An update on Lucie’s official website said that she was getting better and is hoping to restart training next week.

Changes at the US Open

Loving the look of the new Louis Armstrong Stadium at the US Open! I really want to go back! 😍

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8 thoughts on “Thursday’s Set Points, WTA Indian Wells: Kasatkina dazzles, Venus next in the semi-finals

  1. The Venus v Kasatkina match at Wimbledon 2016 was one of my favourites at that tournament, I remember Daria having to save match points after a delay of some kind and somehow not crumbling under the pressure. She came VERY close to a win.
    I do think that if Venus is as good as she was against Serena or Carla then she’ll win, though. If Kasatkina can force errors early on then she will have a shot at the upset.

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    • That was such an entertaining match. A big rain shower came with Venus about to serve on match point. Kasatkina definitely has a shot IMO but I am worried she could get thrown by the occasion and opponent.

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  2. I’m pleased to see Marion Bartoli is taking more time before reappearing on her tour. She was never the most classically athletic player, but looked very out of shape in her exhibition tiebreaker against Serena.
    I admire her ambition, and she clearly believes she can be successful again, but given her age and her time away from the game she is going to have to be in good shape to have any kind of a chance, and she is a long way from that right now.
    I have doubts as to whether he game would hold up now even if she came back fitter than she’s ever been, but I would love to see her pull it off. Allez!

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    • Yes I was rather shocked when she was announcing she was coming back but good luck to her. She was always fun to watch! I think she has a wild card for Monterrey which is the tournament after Miami.

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  3. I think that, apart from great skill and confidence, Kasatkina’s victory over Kerber shows great maturity. Having beaten Wozniacki it would have been too easy to (if only subconsciously) rest on her laurels. Credit to her coach as well.

    Is there a website/database where individual players can be looked up to see who they’ve beaten this season, the score line, and other data?

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  4. Teenagers taking no prisoners
    The SFs of the$60k ITF in Shenzhen has an all teenage field
    Kostyuk(15), Kalinskaya(19), Blinkova(19), Kuzmova(19)

    Unfortunately Siegemund lost in the QFs in the $25K ITF in Santa Margherita to Honcova(R#268), but it was a good start for her comeback.
    IMO this is where Bartoli should be playing, but it would probably be psychologically very difficult for a Grand Slam winner to play in a ITF event.

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