Kasatkina eyes Melbourne 2 title

In the Melbourne Summer Set 2 event at Melbourne Park, the No 3 seed Daria Kasatkina from Russia outlasted American Madison Keys, 7-6(4) 2-6 6-3, to reach the quarter-finals where she will play Spain’s Nuria Parrizas Diaz, who got past another American, Claire Liu, 3-6 7-5 6-1.

Kasatkina is the highest seed remaining in contention and now a favourite for the title.

Keys had dominated the rivalry between the two former Top 10 players with a commanding 7-0 head-to-head lead, 14-1 in sets, in their previous matches, but Kasatkina finally turned the tables, taking the 2 hour 13 minute tussle.

“Madison, she’s an excellent player, she’s very talented and she’s got amazing shots,” Kasatkina said on court, after her win. “I think the level [today] was pretty high.”

Kasatkina had to take a medical time-out for her shoulder in the second set, but she prevailed regardless, as she seeks another title in Australia, having won the Phillip Island Trophy in Melbourne last year.

Clara Tauson, seen here at the 2021 US Open, is the second highest seed left in the Melbourne 2 draw

© Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Other Thursday winners at Summer Set 2 included 20-year old American Amanda Anisimova, who upset No 5th-seeded Sorana Cirstea from Romania, 6-4 6-1, while another Romanian, 31-year old Irina-Camelia Begu, outlasted Italy’s Jasmine Paolini, 3-6 6-2 6-3, and these two will now meet in the quarters.

Anisimova won her only prior duel with Begu in 2019 in the 3rd round at Roland Garros, 7-6 (6) 6-4.

In the lower half of the draw, America’s Ann Li, the No 7 seed who was a 6-1 6-4 winner over Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova, meets Russian qualifier Kamilla Rakhimova, a 7-6(3) 6-4 victor against the No 4 seed Sara Sorribes Tormo from Spain.

Denmark’s Clara Tauson, seeded 6 and the second-highest left in the draw, was an easy 6-1 6-0 winner over Chinese qualifier Zhu Lin, and she will take on another qualifier in Aliaksandra Sasnovich from Belarus, who took out Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson, 6-2 6-4.

In the doubles, top-seeded duo Sam Stosur & Zhang Shuai have advanced to the semi-finals, continuing their impressive start to the season.

The Aussie-Chinese pair have yet to drop a set in Melbourne 2 and recorded a 7-5 6-2 win against Australia’s Monique Adamczak & China’s Han Xinyun in quarter-final action on Thursday.

The US Open 2021 champions, who have now won 14 of their past 16 matches together, are seeking to capture their second title at Melbourne Park, having previously won the Australian Open title in 2019.

Astra Sharma, teaming with Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic, also scored a doubles win, saving a match point in a 3-set battle against Romanian Irina Bara & Ekaterine Gorgodze from Georgia to progress to the quarters.



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