Daria Kasatkina has claimed her second straight win over a Grand Slam champion to reach the semifinals of the Adelaide International 2.
Kasatkina defeated two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-3 7-6 (3) just a day after her win over former Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova.
“We were both dropping serve early, once I started to hold the game changed a bit,” Kasatkina said on court.
“Overall I was really happy with my performance, and I kept my composure in the breaker.”
The world No.8 held two match points at 6-5 in the second set but eventually closed it out in a tiebreak to sets up a big semifinal clash with either world No.11 Paula Badosa or talented Brazilian Beatriz Haddad-Maia.
“I was a little nervous being just one point away from the win, but with Petra it doesn’t matter what the score is you have to be ready for everything.
“I’m not that powerful or big so I have to win a different way. I need to keep thinking really fast on the court and be moving.”
The 25-year-old Russian reached the semifinals at Roland Garros last year before winning two hard court titles in August.
She is now into an 11th semifinal since her career resurgence began at the start of 2020.
“A career is a very long time but at the same it’s really short,” Kasatkina added.
“It’s a rollercoaster and I hope I can keep this level. Every day I’m trying to back up, you can’t really relax.”
Her opponent in the semifinal will be the world No.11, Paula Badosa who won a titanic battle with Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 7-6 (5) 7-5.
The win was in straight sets, but the match stretched beyond two-and-a-half hours, with both players exchanging long rallies throughout the contest.
“I know she’s a fighter so I knew it would be a very long match,” Badosa said.
“She doesn’t give up. She is where she deserves to be on the rankings, so I’m thrilled to get past her.
“It was a very physical match and mentally challenging. We served big and tried to go for our aggressive shots all the time.”
Speaking about Kasatkina, Badosa knows she’ll have to be ready to run again.
“Totally different match against Kasatkina. But I’ll have to run and work all day again. I need to be patient and keep calm.”
In the evening session, Veronika Kudermetova won her way through to the semifinals with a come-from-behind victory over last year’s Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins.
The Russian saved four match points in the second set before converting the second of her own in the third to prevail 4-6 7-6(5) 6-1.
As the match wore on, first serve percentages became crucial, with Collins landing just 52 per cent compared to Kudermetova’s 61 per cent with the Russian claiming 48 points to 31 from this source.
In the deciding third set, this was 13 to six in favour of Kudermetova.
The No.6 seed has now beaten two players in Adelaide this week, one an Australian Open winner (Victoria Azarenka) and the other a finalist (Collins).
The 25-year-old has been on a steady ranking rise over the last six months, winning 17 of her last 22 matches to launch into the top ten. (Currently world No.9).
She reached three WTA finals in 2022 with her only career singles title to date coming at Charleston in 2021
Kudermetova will meet Belinda Bencic for the 10th time in her career in the Adelaide semifinals, resuming a rivalry that began as juniors.
Bencic progressed with a hard-fought win over the No.4 seed Caroline Garcia, her 6-2 3-6 6-4 victory achieved in an hour and 53 minutes.
“The key was for sure to hold the serve,” said Bencic, who has now won both matches she’s contested against Garcia.
“I think we both served great, and it’s tough to return against Caroline. At times, I felt I was playing Russian roulette. She’s stepping in a lot, I’m also holding my baseline, and it was a battle of who can do it better.”
Kasatkina and Badosa meet in the first semifinal this afternoon, while Bencic and Kudermetova open the night session.