Dubai tennis: Kasatkina wins to complete semi-final line-up
Dubai: Daria Kasatkina emerged on top in the all-Russia encounter to become the fourth and final player booking her spot in the semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open here late on Thursday.
The 20-year-old Kasatkina got a feel of an older Elena Vesnina before breezing past her fellow countrywoman 7-6, 6-1 and earn the right to meet second seed Garbine Muguruza in Friday’s first semi-final. In the second semi-final, Elina Svitolina will defend her crown as she takes on sixth-seeded Angelique Kerber from Germany.
Muguruza had joined Kerber and defending champion Svitolina in the semi-finals with convincing wins earlier in the day.
Runner-up at last week’s Qatar Open, Muguruza waded past Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia 7-5, 6-2 in the evening session’s first quarter-final and earn the right to meet Kasatkina. Muguruza showed no signs of her previous night’s travails of playing her second round match against Catherine Bellis till 2 am as she took the first set 7-5 in an hour and two minutes.
There were a couple of minor rain delays — the first at 8.23pm and then at 8.47pm — but that was no distraction for the Spaniard as a couple of breaks took her 4-1 in the clear. Then followed a minor hitch as Garcia broke for 2-4, only for Muguruza to break back immediately and serve out for set and match 6-2 in an hour and 48 minutes in the battle between the two 24-year-olds that had gone into three sets in Doha last week.
Earlier in the afternoon session, sixth seeded Kerber had set up a mouth-watering clash against defending champion and top seed Svitolina in a re-match of last year’s semi-final. Svitolina had got past wild card Naomi Osaka to book a re-match of last year’s semi-final on centre court at 7pm on Friday.
Friday’s action will get under way at 2 pm with the first doubles semi-finals followed by the singles semi-final between Kasatkina and Muguruza.
Elina Svitolina bt Naomi Osaka 6-2, 6-4
Angelique Kerber bt Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-3
Garbine Muguruza bt Caroline Garcia 7-5, 6-2
Daria Kasatkina bt Elena Vesnina 7-6, 6-1.
Alicja Rosolska/Abigail Spears bt Latisha Chan/Andrea Sestini Hlavackova 1-6, 7-6, 1-0 (8).
Order of Play for Friday
Centre Court (Start at 2 pm) Hao-Ching Chan/Zhaoxuan Yang vs Alicja Rosolska/Abigail Spears; (Not before 5 pm) Daria Kasatkina vs Garbine Muguruza; (Not fore 7 pm) Elina Svitolina vs Angelique Kerber; Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina vs Su-Wei Hsieh/Shuai Peng.