18-year-old Daria Kasatkina continues to impress! The fast-rising Russian, who has now shot up to her career-best ranking of 36th, gave another fine example of her precocious talent as she booked her berth in the second round of the Miami Open on Tuesday. It wasn’t an easy affair by any means but Kasatkina held her nerves to carve out a 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 victory over the dangerous Kateryna Bondarenko.
That set her up for a blockbuster second round encounter with the fifth seed Simona Halep.
“She’s great player for sure so it will be difficult, but I will watch matches with my coach and we will talk about how to play her,” the youngster said about her impending clash with the Romanian.
Kasatkina has been one of the rising stars to watch this year and she made a jump of 39 places already since the beginning of the 2016 season. Her latest accomplishment was reaching the quarter-finals of last week’s Indian Wells tournament.
Promising start fizzles out for Robson
However, another promising young gun’s campaign was cut short on Day 1 of the Miami Open, despite having made a thunderous start. Former junior Wimbledon winner Laura Robson, whose blossoming career got stalled after a wrist surgery, surged to a 3-0 lead in the opening set against Monterrey runner-up Kirsten Flipkens but could not manage to hold on to it.
The 22-year-old British wildcard eventually succumbed to a (4)-6-7, 2-6 defeat to the 65th ranked Flipkens in the first round.
Another big name to fall on Tuesday was World No. 43 Camila Giorgi. The Italian lost 4-6, 3-6 to local hope Madison Brengle.
Former US Open semi-finalist and women’s doubles World No. 1 Peng Shuai, whose career too has been blighted by a severe back injury in recent times, made a winning start to her Miami challenge. Now ranked 664th, the Chinese toughed a 6-3, 7-5 win over 2015 French Open quarter-finalist Alison Van Uytvanck.
Her compatriot and Australian Open breakout star Shuai Zhang too won her opener, defeating 16-year-old Sofya Zhuk, 6-1, 6-2. Some of the other names winning on Day 1 included Dubai runner-up Barbora Strycova and 21-year-old Margarita Gasparyan, who made it to the fourth round of the 2016 Australian Open.