WTA Indian Wells: Osaka cruises past Kasatkina to claim maiden title


The huge upset means Osaka moves on to the final on Sunday, where she will face another 20-year-old, Russian Daria Kasatkina, who beat Venus Williams in a almost three-hour epic earlier on Friday.

The unseeded 20-year-old's two weeks at the event featured only one dropped set in her seven wins and an upset of No. 5 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.

Kasatkina will play another 20-year-old, Naomi Osaka who dismantled No. 1 player Simona Halep 6-3, 6-0.

"And, yeah, I feel like there is a new generation, and we're trying to push through".

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Kasatkina's lone WTA singles title came in Charleston, South Carolina past year. In terms of experience, Kasatkina has a slight edge, with one career title in both singles and doubles, she has experience of lifting a title where Osaka does not. After going to hug Bajin and her entourage, Kasatkina also took a moment to go see her coach - with very different emotions on show.

Osaka, who is the youngest Indian Wells women's finalist since Wozniacki in 2010, is now 3-4 lifetime against top-five opposition, while Kasatkina now owns five top-10 victories in 2018. The Japanese-American served out the set, 6-3, in little more than half an hour, with 13 winners to just three from her opponent. She did it for the second time in Indian Wells, winning their third round match 6-4, 6-3.

Osaka forecasts fun for her first-ever clash vs. Kasatkina, who has won nine of her last 10 matches. She expended more and more energy with each trip to the net, and that became a problem when she was unable to quickly put Kasatkina away on serve, especially in the final set.

Osaka has impressed a lot this week with her mental fortitude throughout the tournament, but admitted that she had to keep a calm façade. Philippe Dehaes told her, "She's 37, you're 20. She is improving so much, so she's a really risky player", she said of Osaka. "Osaka is a strong player and she's playing really well".

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"You go for it?" he asked her.

Kasatkina, who wasn't even born when Williams first competed at Indian Wells, said she really felt the nerves getting to her on the big stage in the final.

The final will take place on Sunday, and it will be a huge boost in either of the players' rankings when they win. "I think we were both nervous at the beginning, because [this was our] biggest finals so far". "I'm really glad I was able to finish on my serve instead of having to break her or something like that".

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