Daria Kasatkina‘s arrival as a top player is finally coming. The Russian is in a grand slam quarter final for the second tournament running having made the last 8 in Paris. She will face former finalist Angelique Kerber for a spot in the final four. At No.11, Kerber is now the highest seed left in the draw after Karolina Pliskova’s exit finished off the top 10 list.
2018 has been a productive year for Kasatkina with the aforementioned quarter finals coming alongside finals in Dubai and Indian Wells. While she lost in both of them, she did pick up a number of impressive wins on her way there. She had to fight hard to beat a confident Alison Van Uytvanck in the previous round, coming from a set and break down to win. Seen as more of a clay player, the wins over the Belgian and Ashleigh Barty have proved she can pick up good wins on grass too.
Kerber made the final in 2016 as part of her stunning year that saw her end as World No.1. One of the more likely options for this tournament is now a repeat of that match, in which she lost to Serena Williams. The German has held firm where other seeds have not and has been rewarded with a spot in the last eight after wins over the youthful Naomi Osaka and Belinda Bencic in the past two rounds. “I’m trying not to look left or right, just focus on my play, and improve my tennis every single match,” Kerber said.“I have a lot of tough matches still and the next one will be the same as this. In the second set there were a lot of ups and downs and I was trying to play my own tennis in the important moments, to stay in every single point. I’m so glad to be in the quarter-finals again.”
Kasatkina had won three of the last four matches against Kerber before her loss to Eastbourne a fortnight ago, losing a final set tiebreak. A maiden slam semi final would be huge for Kasatkina although she has to be seen as the underdog right now.
Prediction – Angelique Kerber in three sets