Wimbledon: Daria Kasatkina off to a great start

Daria Kasatkina defeated Zheng Saisai for the third time in as many meetings as the Russian strolled to a comfortable 6-2 6-4 victory over the Chinese in a little over an hour, progressing to the second round.

Wimbledon: Daria Kasatkina off to a great start
Daria Kasatkina would be happy with her performance today | Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Europe
Daria Kasatkina
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Zheng Saisai

Daria Kasatkina had the perfect start to her Wimbledon campaign as she defeated Zheng Saisai easily in straight sets, looking in great form as she was firing on all cylinders.

Kasatkina strolls to win the first set

Kasatkina had a great start to the match as she managed to come into the match firing, forcing errors out of the defensive-minded Zheng with some excellent aggressive play to earn the service break in the opening game, taking the early lead. Kasatkina then easily consolidated the break with a comfortable service hold to open up a 2-0 lead, looking very solid in her play. Saving two game points, one of which helped by a double fault from Zheng, Kasatkina continued her amazing form as she secured a second straight break of service, jumping out to a double break advantage, having the perfect start to the match. Winning eight of the nine points played on her serve as of the fourth game, Kasatkina easily consolidated the break of serve as she was just too good for Zheng, who was struggling to deal with Kasatkina’s baseline game.

Daria Kasatkina serves at last year's Wimbledon Championships | Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Europe
Daria Kasatkina serves at last year's Wimbledon Championships | Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Europe

Zheng’s woes continued as Kasatkina saved another game point to break serve for the third time in a row, with the golden opportunity to serve out the bagel in the next game. However, Kasatkina played her worst game of the match as she threw in two double faults to gift Zheng her first game of the match, allowing her to get on the scoreboard. Saving a set point in the process, the Chinese put up an encouraging performance to keep herself in the set for at least one more game after holding her serve, lessening the deficit although it might be too late to mount a comeback. After what seemed like an eternity, Kasatkina finally sealed the first set 6-2 after hitting an ace on her second set point and looked to be playing some great tennis.

Kasatkina overcomes mid-match wobble to triumph

Zheng had an encouraging start to the second set as she managed to get the opening service hold after Kasatkina committed some unforced errors, giving the Chinese some confidence. However, the Russian was still untouchable on her serve as she claimed a love service hold in her first service game of the second set. Kasatkina then made the first breakthrough of the set when she broke serve to 15 with her aggressive play continuing to prove its worth, allowing her to take a set and a break lead. Zheng then played her best game of the match, saving a game point to break straight back to level the set, hoping to send the match into a decider.

Daria Kasatkina hits a backhand at last year's Wimbledon Championships | Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Europe
Daria Kasatkina hits a backhand at last year's Wimbledon Championships | Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Europe

She rode on the momentum and won her second straight game to take the lead for the first time in the match, causing Kasatkina to feel the pressure. Nevertheless, the Russian managed to control proceedings once more after a changeover as she regained the lead to look on course to close out the victory once again. She edged closer to the win when she consolidated the break to lead 5-3, being just a game away from the victory. Despite wasting a match point with a forehand unforced error, Kasatkina managed to close out the match with an ace after 71 minutes of play, triumphing in straight sets.

Tennis