US Open: Daria Kasatkina puts in solid display to oust Christina McHale

Daria Kasatkina played some of her best tennis as she outgunned a misfiring Christina McHale in the second round of the US Open, setting up a meeting with Jelena Ostapenko in the third round.

US Open: Daria Kasatkina puts in solid display to oust Christina McHale
Daria Kasatkina will now face Ostapenko in the third round | Photo: Abbie Parr/Getty Images North America
Daria Kasatkina
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Christina McHale

Daria Kasatkina took revenge for her compatriot Pavlyuchenkova’s loss as the Russian youngster beat home favourite Christina McHale in the second round of the US Open, prevailing in straight sets. The world number 38 put in an excellent performance today, capitalizing on all her chances while McHale was very erratic and failed to convert her opportunities, allowing the Russian to triumph after an hour and 27 minutes of play.

Kasatkina steals the first set 7-5

McHale came into the match firing on all cylinders with her offensive mindset working very well against the defensive Kasatkina early on, strolling to an easy service hold in the opening game having sealed it with an ace. The Russian followed suit as she also looked solid in her game, playing some smart tennis to get on the scoreboard. After four service holds to start the match, Kasatkina had the first early breakthrough as McHale committed four consecutive unforced errors from 30-0 up to gift the Russian the break of serve.

However, Kasatkina was unable to hold onto her lead as she was overwhelmed by McHale’s powerful returns, with the American dictating play to break straight back and level the score. A marathon game followed as McHale saved four break points and earned a game point for herself but was unable to convert as Kasatkina eventually regained the lead, having relied on McHale’s unforced errors.

Christina McHale in action | Photo: Abbie Parr/Getty Images North America
Christina McHale in action | Photo: Abbie Parr/Getty Images North America

Nevertheless, the American did not give up and instead stepped up her level of play, earning the fourth consecutive break of the match to return to draw level at 4-all. Some inconsistent play from the home favourite saw Kasatkina breaking serve yet again, earning the golden opportunity to serve out the first set. However, the latter stages of the set proved to be a break-fest as the fans witnessed a sixth consecutive break of serve, with Kasatkina unable to close out the set on her serve.

Unforced errors continued to plague McHale as the Russian earned her second chance to serve out the set at 6-5. Nerves seemed to have gotten over the American as more unforced errors came off her racquet, with Kasatkina still remaining solid at the baseline to successfully hold her serve comfortably, serving out the first set 7-5 after 51 minutes of play.

Kasatkina seals the win in straight sets

All of a sudden, both players became very solid on their serves and looked very comfortable in their service games early in the second set. The first opportunity to break serve came in the fourth game when McHale earned two break points but failed to convert as Kasatkina came up with some well-controlled aggressive tennis to narrowly hold her serve. McHale would have rued those missed opportunities as she was broken straight in the next game, looking very erratic on her groundstrokes as she allowed Kasatkina to lead by a set and a break.

Daria Kasatkina in action | Photo: Abbie Parr/Getty Images North America
Daria Kasatkina in action | Photo: Abbie Parr/Getty Images North America

The Russian then held her serve easily to consolidate the break, edging closer to the win. After an exchange of service holds, Kasatkina found herself just one game away from getting the win after being 5-3 up. Serving to stay in the match, McHale felt the pressure as Kasatkina’s improved play proved to be too good for her, being broken to love as the Russian sealed the victory after an hour and 27 minutes of play.