Fixture: (4) Petra Martic vs Daria Kasatkina
Date: 17 February 2021
Tournament: Phillip Island Trophy 2021
Venue: Melbourne, Australia
Category: WTA 250
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $235,238
Match timing: Approx 12:30 PM local time, 7 AM IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel
Petra Martic vs Daria Kasatkina preview
After a slow start to the season, Petra Martic finally seems to have got some momentum going at the newly-minted Phillip Island Trophy.
The fourth seed has scored a couple of good wins to book herself a spot in the last-eight, and will be hoping to carry that form into her first quarterfinal since August last year.
That said, Martic is set to face a tough challenge from Russia's Daria Kasatkina.
Kasatkina, a former top-10 player, is also looking to rediscover the form that helped her emerge as a force on the tour during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
The Russian won a couple of big titles around that time, while also making deep runs at Grand Slam events. And while she hasn't been able to sustain that level of her game, she still remains a huge threat.
Kasatkina has a crafty style of play, with a lot of variety that can trouble her opponents. But she also has a great baseline game with a heavy forehand that works as a great defensive shot and helps her stay in rallies.
Against Martic, Kasatkina will need all the elements of her game to come together.
Petra Martic vs Daria Kasatkina head-to-head
Petra Martic leads Daria Kasatkina in the head-to-head by a 2-0 margin. The Croat has scored two tough wins over her opponent, the last of which came on the hardcourts of Cincinnati in 2018.
Petra Martic vs Daria Kasatkina prediction
Petra Martic enters this match as the favorite on paper, but things might not be as straightforward as they look. The Croat suffered some uncharacteristic losses towards the end of last year and has struggled to get going in her matches this year as well.
She lost in the second round of the Yarra Valley Classic, before suffering another tough loss in the opening round of the Australian Open. The second of those defeats - against Olga Danilovic - was particularly shocking, given that Martic had set herself up well before completely losing her way.
That's a particularly worrying sign for the Croat as she was unable to close out a lot of her matches from a winning position even last year.
Daria Kasatkina, meanwhile, is known to be a fighter on the court and is unlikely to give Martic a lot of free points. The onus thus falls on the Croat to maintain her aggressive stance. She will also need to keep the points short, as a longer match will only benefit her opponent.
This one could be heading towards a close finish, and Martic will have to pull out something special to turn the tide of her recent losses.
Prediction: Daria Kasatkina to win in three sets.