A new Indian Wells champion will be crowned on Sunday when Daria Kasatkina and Naomi Osaka open play on finals day. The duo, both just 20 years old, have picked up a series of stunning scalps between them in the tournament.
Kasatkina denied Venus Williams her first Indian Wells final with a comeback win against the 37 year old, fighting from a set down to win 4-6 6-4 7-5. She would also have to come from a break down to beat Venus for the third time already in her young career. “I knew that if there is a chance, I have to take it immediately, because on the top level, you can get few chances per set or per match. And if you don’t use it, you can lose the match after. So the one really important thing which I realized, that you have to see the chances and use them, for sure.” Kasatkina said. Venus’ failure to convert 0-30 when returning for the match was proof of Kasatkina’s view with the Russian dropping just 2 more points in the match from that stage.
Kasatkina is well aware of the threat Osaka poses and what she can offer on court. “She’s playing really well. She’s hitting hard. She has a good serve. She’s improving so much, so she’s really dangerous player.” she said. Osaka won the last nine games of the match to crush Simona Halep 6-3 6-0. She was rarely troubled on serve aside from when serving for the match, where she had to save 4 break points before closing the match out.
The dynamic of this match will be much different with both players having had strong underdog runs to the final. Kasatkina is the slight bookmakers favourite but both players will see this as a very winnable match. “I feel like it’s going to be really interesting, because she kind of plays a completely different game than me,” Osaka commented. “I think we’re both in the final of this type of tournament for the first time, so it’s going to be fun. I feel like every player I have played has had the pressure on them because — like, everyone has been seeded and stuff. I’m just trying to be consistent and not worry too much on winning or losing.”
Prediction – Daria Kasatkina in three sets