Clearly, Daria Kasatkina is not the least bit intimidated playing Grand Slam champions. On the contrary, the 20-year-old seems to quite enjoy it, making a habit of beating them and in the case of Caroline Wozniacki, doing it repeatedly.
The No. 20 seed from Russia knocked the reigning Australian Open champ and No. 2 seed out of the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday night with a hard-fought 6-4, 7-5 victory.
It was the second time in a month that Kasatkina has beaten Wozniacki, the last time coming at the indoor St. Petersburg Ladies’ Trophy in February following Wozniacki’s Australian Open when the Dane was ranked No.1.
In addition, since September, Kasatkina has beaten French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko at the US Open, Wimbledon winner Garbine Muguruza at Dubai and US Open titlist Sloane Stephens in the third round here.
“I didn’t really think about it,” Kasatkina said. “I’m just going on court and actually now enjoying every minute during I’m playing. And, yeah, I’m playing [my] best matches against the best players. But as I say, if you want to be on the top, you have to beat the top players. So quite simple rule.”
In vanquishing Wozniacki on Tuesday night, Kasatkina also foiled her pursuit of re-claiming the No. 1 ranking, which was contingent on her reaching the final.
“She outsmarted me today, which is fair enough,” Wozniacki said. “But at least I tried and I tried to do what I thought I needed to do out there today. I just couldn’t execute as well as I wanted to.”
Kasatkina was down 3-0 in a heartbeat and down a break in both sets, but continually rallied back. Throughout the tournament, Wozniacki referenced the slower, high-bouncing hard courts at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden as a deterrent for her game and this match was no different.
“It’s unusual that we play on surfaces like this, but I think it fits her game that it slows down the ball.”
For Kasatkina, it was just business as usual.
“In the beginning it was really tough because I was really nervous going on the big stages, on the big courts against big players. But now with experience, with the time, I’m getting into it and I would say I’m getting pretty confident in this level already. So we will see what’s going to happen next.”