Naomi Osaka’s first WTA title, beats Kasatkina to win Indian Wells

Naomi Osaka won the 2018 BNP Paribas Open with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Daria Kasatkina in Sunday’s final. This was Naomi’s first WTA title and a hugeee one at that. It is somewhat reminiscent of Jelena Ostapenko who won her first title last year at Roland Garros. The final was a bit of a letdown in terms of a contest as Kasatkina just couldn’t find the game that had shone through the two weeks in the desert.

Kasatkina’s forehand broke down at the end of the first set and the normally precise drop shots just didn’t work. Kasatkina’s movement wasn’t as sharp as in her previous matches. I thought Dasha would be able to rebound after her semi-final win over Venus Williams but in hindsight, I guess that match was a tough one to get over, both physically and mentally. Tennis is such a brutal sport. Nothing takes away what was a tremendous two weeks for Dasha. I hope that she can forget about this one and remember everything that she achieved. Onwards and upwards!

All the credit to Osaka who handled the occasion better and played another fine match. Osaka handled Kasatkina’s game remarkably well. The Japanese player looked very secure behind her backhand. Similar to her semi-final match against Simona Halep, Osaka saved a break point at 3-3, and in style with a gorgeous ace. As i’ve said many times, I genuinely look forward to watching Naomi play tennis. The improvement this year, most notably in building the points and being more patient, has been rapid and her rise to relevance is great for the game. I have absolutely no doubt that Naomi will win a Slam in the future.

The match didn’t quite live up to my expectation. The trophy ceremony certainly did! Naomi classed her speech as the “worst acceptance speech of all time” πŸ˜‚. I found it to be so, so endearing. I’ve never thought of it before but it made me think what a daunting task it must be to make a speech in front of all those people. Personally, I don’t think I could do it!

Indian Wells has been great and I can’t ever remember enjoying the tournament as much as this year’s edition. I’m really enjoying the tennis and getting a better balance with the blog too.That being said, I’m definitely not ready for Miami yet. Main draw starts on TUESDAY!!!!

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8 thoughts on “Naomi Osaka’s first WTA title, beats Kasatkina to win Indian Wells

  1. Is Naomi the new Serena? Will she dominate the WTA for the next 10 to 15 years? At 5’11 with a big body frame and good movement, she has the physical requirements to dominate, and Naomi does not have the emotional problems of Ostapenko.

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    • “Is Naomi the new Serena?” I don’t know, but I think she just could be. Her 6-3, 6-0 demolition of Simona Halep in the semis – even allowing for the fact that Simona wasn’t at her best – was absolutely ominous for a 20 year old playing a world no. 1.

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      • I personally think Osaka is too nice to be the new Serena, and I say that as obviously a huge Serena fan. I’m not sure she has the same thirst to annihilate the opposition. She strikes me as more of a Kerber/Ivanovic/Kuznetsova, who play(/ed) because they love playing.

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    • I think, it’s early days. Obviously, she does have Serena-esque type plays( she is her idol) and this Sascha Bajin coaching relationship is in it’s infancy. If she can withstand the pressure onslaught of being a favourite and a target of the other girls, she could be off to a good start. Serena’s mental fortitude(innate) is a huge asset, the wta is a grind, blood, sweat, tears and all.

      The only two matches of hers I watched fully were against Sakkari and Halep. Sakkari had actually overcome the power play of Vekic, Barty and Coco before meeting Osaka. However, she had to completely adapt her approach( more spins etc) to take that second set from Osaka after losing the first. By the third, Osaka had her sussed out and was locked into her power play and speedy foot work again. Sakkari couldn’t keep up. Halep just couldn’t find her game to even adapt after the first 6 games. You know Sharapova and Pliskova are not players to even bother with adapting. Maybe fatigue played a part in Kasatkina’s performance, but I believe she has it in her to adapt her strategy for Osaka in this form. There were signs of it in both the first and second set. This has to be Osaka’s best performance in a while, consistent controlled power tennis, good footwork and focus. She played smartly through out! Let’s see if she maintains.

      πŸ™‚ I can’t forget to mention Aga can hold her head high, she lost to the champ!

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    • Osaka – Serena it is in R1. πŸ˜€

      Imo Osaka has a similar game to Serena. But I don’t know the same hunger and ambition. I mean 10+ Slams alone isn’t a realistic goal at the start of the career.

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  2. πŸ˜€ @James, she must have spent more time working on her game than any possible acceptance speech and it shows! Commiserations to Kasatkina, although they’re peers, she’s been to finals and knows you don’t always win it. I want her to bounce back quickly. Kudos to Naomi. I like both girls, but I’ve a soft spot for clean, strong, smart, intelligent power play tennis. Naomi did just that and more. That angled cross court forehand! Massive!
    To be honest, Coco’s unstoppable tennis( which ends in 3 or 4 strokes) is like ‘too much of a good thing’, πŸ™‚ it makes me a bit queasy. This is just right. Wonder why Madison Keys didn’t reach for Sascha’s services…the possibilities.. I hope Miami is this open too.

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