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Daria Sergeyevna Kasatkina[a] (Russian: Дарья Сергеевна Касаткина; born 7 May 1997)[1] is a Russian professional tennis player. She made her top 10 debut in the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) rankings towards the end of the 2018 season. She has won two WTA titles in singles as well as one in doubles.

Daria Kasatkina
Daria Kasatkina 2.jpg
Kasatkina at the 2017 French Open
Full nameDaria Sergeyevna Kasatkina
Native nameДарья Сергеевна Касаткина
Country (sports) Russia
ResidenceTolyatti, Russia
Born (1997-05-07) 7 May 1997 (age 22)
Tolyatti, Russia
Height1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Turned pro2014
PlaysRight-handed (two-handed backhand)
CoachCarlos Martinez
Prize money$5,546,280
Official websitekasatkina.net
Singles
Career record203–107 (65.5%)
Career titles2 WTA, 7 ITF
Highest rankingNo. 10 (22 October 2018)
Current rankingNo. 69 (5 November 2019)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open3R (2016)
French OpenQF (2018)
WimbledonQF (2018)
US Open4R (2017)
Other tournaments
Olympic GamesQF (2016)
Doubles
Career record46–46 (50.0%)
Career titles1 WTA
Highest rankingNo. 43 (12 September 2016)
Current rankingNo. 156 (5 August 2019)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open2R (2016)
French Open3R (2019)
Wimbledon3R (2016)
US Open3R (2017)
Other doubles tournaments
Olympic GamesQF (2016)
Team competitions
Fed Cup5–3 (62.5%)
Last updated on: 6 August 2019.

Born to athletic parents who were nationally ranked in athletics and ice hockey, Kasatkina began playing tennis at age six at the insistence of her older brother. She excelled as a junior, winning the European 16s championship and one junior Grand Slam singles title at the 2014 French Open. Kasatkina quickly ascended up the professional rankings, reaching No. 32 in the world while still 18 years old and winning her first WTA title as a teenager at the Charleston Open. She rose to prominence in 2018 by finishing runner-up to fellow up-and-coming player Naomi Osaka at the Premier Mandatory Indian Wells Open in a match regarded as representing a new wave of women's tennis. Kasatkina also won the biggest title of her career at the Kremlin Cup at home in Russia towards the end of the season. Following three successful seasons on the WTA Tour, Kasatkina struggled in 2019, falling into the bottom half of the top 100.

Early life and backgroundEdit

Daria was born 7 May 1997 in Tolyatti, Samara Oblast to Tatyana Borisovna (née Timkovskaya) and Sergey Igorevich Kasatkin. Tolyatti is an industrial city located about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) southeast of Moscow. Her father works as an engineer at the Volga Automobile Plant, while her mother was a lawyer.[2][3][4] Both of her parents were nationally ranked athletes in Russia (officially known as Candidates for Master of Sports); her mother in athletics, and her father in ice hockey.[5] Kasatkina also has an older brother named Alexandr. Her brother had played tennis casually, and convinced her parents to have her also begin playing the sport when she was six years old. She initially played two to three times a week for two years. In time, she began competing in higher level tournaments.[6]

Junior careerEdit

 
Kasatkina at the 2013 US Open

As a junior, Kasatkina was ranked as high as No. 3 in the world.[7] She began competing on the ITF Junior Circuit shortly after turning 14 years old and won her first title at just her second career event, the low-level Grade 4 Samara Cup.[7] In early 2012 while still 14, Kasatkina won two higher-level Grade 2 tournaments in Moldova and France, the former of which was the first Grade 2 event she entered.[7] Towards the end of the year, she helped Russia reach the final of the Junior Fed Cup alongside Elizaveta Kulichkova and Alina Silich, where they finished runners-up to the United States.[8]

Kasatkina began excelling at the highest level junior tournaments in 2013. She reached her first Grade 1 final in doubles in January, which she followed up with her first Grade 1 final in singles in April.[7] After failing to win a match at her only two Grade A events the previous year, Kasatkina finished runner-up to Belinda Bencic at the Trofeo Bonfiglio in May.[9][10] She then won her first junior Grand Slam matches the following month, reaching the quarterfinals at the French Open.[11] Following this event, she did not play another tournament until late August, when she won her first Grade 1 title at the International Hard Court Championship in the United States.[12] Kasatkina's last event of the year was the Junior Fed Cup, where she played the No. 1 singles matches. With Veronika Kudermetova and Aleksandra Pospelova, the top-seeded Russian team won the tournament, defeating Australia in the final.[13][14]

Kasatkina had her best year on the junior tour in 2014, despite competing in just five tournaments. She reached both the singles and doubles finals at the Grade 1 Trofeo Mauro Sabatini, and won the title in singles.[7] At the last ITF tournament of her career, Kasatkina won her first and only junior Grand Slam title in the girls' singles event at the French Open. As the No. 8 seed, she defeated top seed Ivana Jorović in the final, coming back from a set down. She was the first Russian girl to win the event since Nadia Petrova in 1998 and helped Russia sweep both junior singles events, with fellow European 16s champion Andrey Rublev winning the boys' singles title.[15] In August, Kasatkina also participated in the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing. She earned a silver medal in doubles alongside compatriot Anastasiya Komardina. They finished runners-up to Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina and Belarusian Iryna Shymanovich.[16][17]

Professional careerEdit

2013–15: Grand Slam debut, WTA doubles titleEdit

Kasatkina began her professional career as a wild card qualifying entrant at the 2013 Kremlin Cup, where she lost her only match. She made her professional main draw debut on the ITF circuit in November, and then won her first career title at a low-level $10K event in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt a few months later. She also won a $25K title in Telavi, Georgia the following September.[18] Kasatkina again received a wild card into the 2014 Kremlin Cup, this time for the main draw. She lost her WTA Tour debut to Alison Riske.[19]

Kasatkina began 2015 ranked No. 354, but steadily climbed to No. 161 at the end of June on the strength of four ITF $25K titles.[18][20] She then recorded her first WTA Tour match win in July against Aleksandra Krunić at the Gastein Ladies en route to the quarterfinals.[21] With her rankings improvement, Kasatkina was able to enter qualifying at a Grand Slam event for the first time at the US Open. Although she lost in the last round, she reached the main draw as a lucky loser and made it to the third round, upsetting compatriot and world No. 38 Daria Gavrilova as well as No. 79 Ana Konjuh.[22] Before the end of the year, Kasatkina won her biggest titles of her career to date in both singles and doubles. In September, she won the L'Open Emeraude Solaire de Saint-Malo ITF $50K singles event.[23] In October, she won the doubles event at the Kremlin Cup with Elena Vesnina for her first WTA title.[24] She also reached semifinals in singles as a qualifier, her best singles result on the WTA Tour at the time. During the event, she defeated world No. 14 Carla Suárez Navarro in the quarterfinals for the biggest win of her career.[25] She finished the year ranked No. 72.[20]

2016: First top ten victory, top 25Edit

 
Kasatkina at the 2016 Wimbledon Championships

During the 2016 season, Kasatkina continued to rise in the WTA rankings, reaching No. 32 in the world while still 18 years old and as high as No. 24 later in the year.[20] She began the year at the Auckland Open, where she recorded her first career top ten victory against world No. 7 Venus Williams.[26] Kasatkina then made her Australian Open debut and reached the third round. She defeated No. 27 Anna Karolína Schmiedlová in the first round before losing to world No. 1 Serena Williams.[27] At her next tournament, she returned to Russia for the St. Petersburg Ladies' Trophy and reached the semifinals, losing to Belinda Bencic.[28] At the Indian Wells Open, Kasatkina then made it to the quarterfinals at her first Premier Mandatory event.[29] She also produced one good result in doubles, a semifinals appearance at the Qatar Total Open with Elena Vesnina. The Russian duo notably defeated Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza to end their 41 match win streak, the longest streak on the WTA Tour since 1990.[30]

In the middle of the season, Kasatkina again reached the third round at two more Grand Slam events, the French Open and Wimbledon. At both tournaments, she lost tight matches that each ended 10–8 in the third set, the former against Kiki Bertens and the latter against No. 8 Venus Williams.[31][32] She had two chances to serve out the match against Bertens.[33] Kasatkina continued her success at big tournaments at the Premier 5 Canadian Open, where she reached the quarterfinals. She defeated world No. 8 Roberta Vinci in the third round for her second career top ten victory.[34][35] Her next tournament was the Rio Olympics. She qualified for the singles event through her ranking, and also entered the doubles event with Svetlana Kuznetsova after Margarita Gasparyan withdrew due to injury.[36] Kasatkina reached the quarterfinals at both events, falling just short of the medal rounds. She lost to American Madison Keys in singles and the Czech team of Andrea Hlaváčková and Lucie Hradecká in doubles.[37] At the US Open, her streak of four consecutive third round appearances at majors was ended in the opening round by Wang Qiang.[38]

Kasatkina's last big singles result of the season came at the Premier 5 Wuhan Open, where she made it to the third round. She had needed to qualify for the main draw after forgetting to sign up for the tournament.[39] For the second consecutive year, Kasatkina reached the doubles final at the Kremlin Cup, this time with Daria Gavrilova. The pair finished runner-up to Hlaváčková and Hradecká.[40] Kasatkina ended the season at a world ranking of No. 27.[20]

2017: First WTA singles title, Kremlin Cup runner-upEdit

 
Kasatkina at the 2017 Wimbledon Championships

Kasatkina maintained a steady ranking throughout 2017, falling no lower than No. 42 in the world and again reaching the same season-best of No. 24 as 2016.[20] Nonetheless, she had a slow start to the season, not winning a single match at the Australian Open or the two Premier Mandatory events in the United States, the three biggest tournaments through March. Her best results were two quarterfinals at mid-level two Premier tournaments, the Sydney International and the Qatar Open.[41] In Sydney, she also defeated Angelique Kerber for her first career victory over a current world No. 1 player.[42]

After struggling on hard courts, Kasatkina had a better clay court season on the strength of her first and last tournaments on the surface. At the Charleston Open, she won her first career WTA singles title shortly before turning 20 years old. She defeated fellow teenager Jeļena Ostapenko in the final in straight sets.[43] Kasatkina closed out the clay season with another third round appearance at the French Open, where she lost to eventual finalist and world No. 4 Simona Halep.[44] Her only grass court tournament was Wimbledon, where she made it to the second round.[45]

Towards the end of the year, Kasatkina began having more success on hard courts. At the US Open, she made it to the fourth round of a Grand Slam event for the first time. Although she was able to defeat Ostapenko, who had won the French Open, she was upset by veteran qualifier Kaia Kanepi.[46][47] Nonetheless, she built on this result in Asia, first by reaching another WTA doubles final with Gavrilova at the Pan Pacific Open.[48] In singles at the Wuhan Open, she upset world No. 2 Halep.[49] She also made her second career Premier Mandatory quarterfinal at the China Open, this time losing to Halep.[50] Kasatkina closed out the year with her second best singles result of the season, a runner-up finish at her hometown Premier tournament, the Kremlin Cup. She upset fifth seed and world No. 18 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the first round, but was defeated by seventh seed Julia Görges in the final.[51]

2018: Indian Wells final, Kremlin Cup title, Russian No. 1, top 10Edit

 
Kasatkina at the 2018 Birmingham Classic

Kasatkina continued her late season success from the previous year into 2018. After only winning one match between three tournaments in Australia,[52] she reached the semifinals at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy and then the final at the Dubai Tennis Championships, two Premier tournaments.[53] In St. Petersburg, she notably defeated world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki.[54] In Dubai, she saved three match points en route to defeating another top 5 player in world No. 3 Garbiñe Muguruza, before losing to the defending champion and world No. 4 Elina Svitolina.[55][56] Kasatkina's breakthrough came at the Indian Wells Open, where she reached her second final of the season. She defeated four top 15 players at the event including Wozniacki again and also No. 8 Venus Williams in a tight three set match.[57] She finished runner-up to fellow 20-year-old Naomi Osaka.[58][59] With this result, she climbed to No. 11 in the WTA rankings and also became the Russian No. 1, ending Svetlana Kuznetsova's long run as Russia's top women's singles player.[20][60]

Kasatkina had strong clay and grass court seasons as well. She made the quarterfinals at the Charleston Open and the third round at the Premier 5 Italian Open.[61][62] She also had another big result at a Premier Mandatory tournament, reaching the quarterfinals at the Madrid Open. During the event, she upset hometown favourite and world No. 3 Garbiñe Muguruza.[63] Her best tournament on clay was the French Open, where she reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. She defeated No. 2 Wozniacki for the third time in 2018 in a match that was suspended midway through due to darkness, before losing to the eventual runner-up Sloane Stephens.[64][65] Another Grand Slam quarterfinal followed at Wimbledon, losing to the eventual champion and world No. 11 Angelique Kerber.[66]

"It was a dream of mine since childhood, to win the Kremlin Cup in front of my crowd. I’m so happy, I still can’t believe it... There were fans from Russia, from Tunisia, from everywhere – the atmosphere felt more like Fed Cup, but it was great. But it was amazing because this is what sport is about, the passion."

—Kasatkina on her Kremlin Cup title.[67]

Kasatkina failed to continue her Grand Slam success at the US Open, losing in the second round.[68] In October, she returned to Russia and won the Kremlin Cup for her only title of the season. She defeated Tunisian qualifier Ons Jabeur in the final. With the title, she also made her top 10 debut.[67] Kasatkina was initially named the second alternate for the WTA Finals. With only one withdrawal, she instead participated in the WTA Elite Trophy, where she was grouped with Madison Keys and Wang Qiang. She began the round robin with a win over Wang, but lost to Keys in a match where she had to play on a short amount of rest while Keys was playing her first match. As a result, she finished in last place in the group through the tiebreak criteria.[69][70] Kasatkina finished the year ranked No. 10 in the world.[20]

2019: Significant rankings drop down to No. 70Edit

 
Kasatkina at the 2019 French Open

Kasatkina could not repeat the success from any of her full seasons on the WTA Tour during 2019. After beginning the year in the top ten, her ranking dropped throughout the season down to as low as No. 70 near the end of the year.[20] Whereas she won at least 60% of her matches in each of her three previous years, she finished 2019 with a losing record of 12–21.[71] She parted with her longtime coach Philippe Dehaes in February, replacing him with Carlos Martinez in April.[72][73]

Kastakina's results did not improve with Martinez as her coach. She did not make the semifinals at any event. Kasatkina won multiple matches at two tournaments during the year, the Premier 5 Italian Open in May and the Premier Mandatory China Open in October where she won three matches and made the quarterfinals. At the China Open, she defeated No. 14 Aryna Sabalenka and No. 38 Ekaterina Makarova before losing to No. 19 Caroline Wozniacki.[74] Kasatkina's losses were generally against good competition, with only seven of her twenty-one losses coming against players ranked outside of the top 50. The highest-ranked opponent she defeated during the year was No. 13 Angelique Kerber in the first round of the Canadian Open.[41] Kasatkina remained in the top 50 until the very end of the season, when she lost the points she was defending from the previous year's WTA Elite Trophy.[20]

National representationEdit

Having won the Junior Fed Cup in 2013, Kasatkina made her senior Fed Cup debut for Russia in 2016 in a World Group quarterfinal against the Netherlands. She won the dead rubber doubles match with Ekaterina Makarova against Cindy Burger and Arantxa Rus as Russia lost the tie.[75] She also participated in the World Group Play-offs against Belarus two months later and played three rubbers, as Makarova and Svetlana Kuznetsova both opted to skip the tie. Kasatkina won her first live rubber against Aliaksandra Sasnovich, but Russia lost all three other singles rubbers to lose the tie. Partnering with Elena Vesnina, she also won the doubles dead rubber. Nonetheless, Russia were relegated out of the World Group.[76]

In 2017, Russia played in World Group II and won their tie to advance to World Group Play-offs. After Kasatkina skipped that tie, she returned for the Play-off round.[77] However, for the second consecutive year, Russia lost in this round to Belgium to keep them in World Group II. Kasatkina won her only singles match to set up a decisive doubles rubber. Alongside Vesnina, Kasatkina lost that match to Elise Mertens and An-Sophie Mestach.[78] Kasatkina did not participate in Fed Cup in 2018 as Russia were further relegated to the Europe/Africa zonal group.[79][80]

Kasatkina competed for Russia in 2019 during the zonal competitions, recording a win over Karen Barritza in straight sets in the only match she played throughout the week. Russia ultimately secured a place in the World Group II Play-offs.[81]

Playing styleEdit

 
Kasatkina serving

Kasatkina is a baseline player with a crafty style of play.[82][83] She employs a variety of shots including heavy topspin forehands, one-handed slice backhands, kick serves, and drop shots.[58] Tennis journalist Steve Tignor compared her ability to naturally hit one-handed backhands despite typically utilizing a two-handed shot to that of former world No. 1 men's tennis player Andy Murray.[84] Her coach Phillip Dehaes describes her style as "change of rhythm, change of speed, change of trajectory."[58] She relies on outsmarting her opponents through tactics rather than hitting overpowering shots.[85][86] However, she is capable of hitting powerful groundstrokes as well. Dehaes emphasizes that her key is avoid hitting the ball in her opponent's strike zone.[87] Kasatkina's style has been praised by others including women's tennis coach Wim Fissette, who called her "the Roger Federer of women's tennis."[88]

Kasatkina's favourite surface is clay.[84] Fellow top women's player Caroline Wozniacki has commended her clay court ability, saying, "The slower the surface is, the better for her. She has very good hands and good angles and everything."[89] As such, she also excels at tournaments with slower hard courts, such as the Indian Wells Open.[84] Kasatkina has had a good record on all three main surfaces on the WTA Tour, winning a clay court title at the Charleston Open, winning a hard court title at the Kremlin Cup, and reaching the quarterfinals on grass at Wimbledon.[43][67][66]

CoachesEdit

When Kasatkina was eleven years old, Maxim Prasolov began coaching her. At the age of 14, she switched coaches to Damir Rishatovich Nurgaliev.[90] Beginning in 2015, she moved to Trnava in Slovakia to train at the Empire Tennis Academy, citing her preference to train away from a large city, something that was less feasible in Russia. At the academy, she worked with former Slovak professional tennis player Vladimír Pláteník.[6]

After three years, she hired Belgian Philippe Dehaes to be her new coach in late 2017. Kasatkina had previously sought out Dehaes as a coach in late 2013 when she visited Belgium in search of funding from a foundation that was providing financial support for one of Dehaes's junior players. Dehaes has stated he has a different coaching style than Pláteník, saying, "She was working before with a coach who was really focused on the opponent and on adapting the game to the opponent. I don’t watch the opponent." He added that, "I insist on leaving her a lot of freedom when she plays, but she has to create, has to make things happen, really like an artist. I compared it to an empty canvas a few days ago, and I said she can make whatever art on that canvas that she wants as long as it’s beautiful."[87] Kasatkina split with Dehaes in February 2019. She had only wanted to take a break from having a coach, but Dehaes could not accommodate being without a job.[72] After two months without a coach, she replaced him with Carlos Martinez.[73] Kastakina's brother Alexandr is her fitness trainer.[82]

Personal lifeEdit

Kasatkina's favourite tennis player is Rafael Nadal. In the women's game, she is a fan of Petra Kvitová.[2] She prefers to watch men's tennis over women's tennis, saying that the players are better at serving and moving around the court.[6] Kasatkina likes to play sports in general, including football. She is a fan of FC Barcelona.[4]

Daria has been sponsored by Nike,[91][92] Tecnifibre[93] and Instaforex[94] for the past years.

Career statisticsEdit

Grand Slam performance timelinesEdit

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR Q# A NH
(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
To avoid confusion and double counting, these charts are updated at the conclusion of a tournament or when the player's participation has ended.

SinglesEdit

Tournament 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 SR W–L Win %
Australian Open A 3R 1R 2R 1R 0 / 4 3–4 43%
French Open A 3R 3R QF 2R 0 / 4 9–4 69%
Wimbledon A 3R 2R QF 1R 0 / 4 7–4 64%
US Open 3R 1R 4R 2R 1R 0 / 5 6–5 55%
Win–Loss 2–1 6–4 6–4 10–4 1–4 0 / 17 25–17 60%

DoublesEdit

Tournament 2016 2017 2018 2019 SR W–L Win %
Australian Open 2R 1R 1R A 0 / 3 1–3 25%
French Open 1R 2R 1R 3R 0 / 4 3–4 43%
Wimbledon 3R A A 1R 0 / 2 2–2 50%
US Open 2R 3R A 0 / 2 3–2 60%
Win–Loss 4–4 3–3 0–2 2–2 0 / 11 9–11 45%

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Also transliterated as Darya Kasatkina

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit

Daria Kasatkina at the International Tennis Federation – Junior profile