A highly-anticipated clash in the first round of the Rogers Cup sees youngster Daria Kasatkina go up against the veteran Roberta Vinci in a battle of youth and experience. The former US Open finalist had a recent dip in form as she exited the Top 30, and the Charleston champion is in a similar situation after enduring through a tough period recently, kicking her out of the Top 30 as well. Currently, both players find themselves beside each other in the rankings.
Vinci’s recent results
Surprisingly, Vinci has not played a single tournament since the Wimbledon Championships where she fell to Kristyna Pliskova in straight sets as the 31st seed. Since then, she was inactive but continued to practice in Milan for the Rogers Cup. It was found out that Vinci’s house was actually broken into recently, and all her titles, together with some valuables, were all stolen as mentioned in an Instagram post by the Italian.
Kasatkina’s recent results
Similar to the veteran, Kasatkina has also not played a professional match since the Wimbledon Championships after falling to Anett Kontaveit in the second round. She was originally slated to participate in the ongoing Citi Open this week, but she withdrew before the tournament kicked off, not stating any reason for her withdrawal.
Head to Head
Vinci leads their head-to-head by two matches to one. Their first ever meeting came at the Qatar Total Open back in 2016 when Kasatkina owned three match points but was unable to convert, allowing the Italian to triumph in a final set tiebreak. The Russian then exacted revenge for the heartbreaking loss at the exact same tournament last year at the Rogers Cup, putting in an impressive performance to prevail in straight sets. Interestingly enough, this would be their second meeting at the Rogers Cup, one in Montreal and one in Toronto. The last time they met was at this year’s Mutua Madrid Open, where Vinci unexpectedly got the better of her younger counterpart as she overcame a mid-match wobble to get the victory.
On paper, this encounter looks to be a tight one and it is definitely one of the mouth-watering clashes in the first round. Vinci would be looking to rediscover her form and start playing her best tennis, and she is aiming to at least get some good wins here. The Italian would rely on her backhand slices to defeat the Russian, and it already proved its worth in their last meetings. She could make use of her backhand slice and hit some disguised shots such as the drop shot to catch her opponent off-guard. Being a former world number one and multiple Grand Slam champion in doubles, Vinci could also proceed to the net more often and earn some free points there. However, she has to ensure that her forehand is consistent enough to challenge Kasatkina at the baseline, otherwise, a win would be difficult to achieve.
In a match with so many similarities between both players, Kasatkina also has to rely on her renowned backhand to dictate play throughout the match. She has to be more aggressive in her play and prevent Vinci from controlling the proceedings. Vinci is not the best of servers and the Russian could expose the loopholes in her vulnerable serves, making most out of her opportunities. Kasatkina also possesses a decent forehand which goes well down-the-line, which would be useful against a player like Vinci.
Both players are in a poor form currently and was unable to produce any satisfactory performances in their last matches. The win would be crucial and confidence-boosting for either of them and the winner faces the fifth seed Elina Svitolina in the second round. Vinci also has to regain her composure quickly after the theft at her home, but unquestionably, this would be a very tight unpredictable match.
Match Prediction: Daria Kasatkina d. Roberta Vinci in three sets