No.8 seed Daria Kasatkina picked up her first career win at the WTA Finals with a 7-6(6), 6-3 round-robin victory over No.4 seed Coco Gauff on Thursday night in the Tracy Austin Group.
Still in the hunt for the title, Kasatkina will face Caroline Garcia on Saturday, with the winner of that match advancing to the semifinals. They have a 1-1 head-to-head, with Garcia winning at 2019 Wuhan, and Kasatkina prevailing at 2021 San Jose.
More from Thursday: Swiatek downs Garcia
Also after the win by Kasatkina, Iga Swiatek is guaranteed to make the semifinals as the Tracy Austin Group winner. Gauff is eliminated from semifinal contention.
Battling the best: In the 1-hour and 40-minute clash between two players making their WTA Finals debuts this year, Kasatkina maintained her undefeated record against Gauff, improving to 3-0 over the American teenager (6-0 in sets).
Kasatkina is now 5-2 against Top 5 opponents in 2022. Her two losses to Top 5 players this year both came against Iga Swiatek, in the Roland Garros semifinals and two days ago in her opening round-robin match in Fort Worth.
Against Gauff, Kasatkina kept her game tidy, with 14 winners matching her 14 unforced errors. By contrast, Gauff had 26 winners, but those were overridden by 43 unforced errors.
The win adds to a career-best year on hard court for Kasatkina. It is her 25th victory on the surface this season, which is already her highest annual tally.
Match moments: A topsy-turvy opening set saw Kasatkina come back from 4-1 down to hold a set point at 6-5. Gauff staved off that chance after a lengthy rally, and the pair moved into a decisive tiebreak.
In the breaker, Gauff took a 3-0 lead, but Kasatkina stormed back again, earning two more set points thanks to increasingly heavy forehands. On her third chance, a Gauff forehand misuce found the net, and Kasatkina took the one-set lead after 66 minutes.
Based on the history, it was a crucial opening frame, as Kasatkina is now up to 29-0 this season after she wins the first set. The second set also went back and forth, but Kasatkina broke in each of Gauff’s first three service games, and she held on from there to keep her title hopes active.
More to come…
- Kasatkina knocks out Gauff at WTA Finals
- Check all news and articles from the latest Tennis updates.