Angelique Kerber vs Daria Kasatkina WTA Indian Wells tennis preview, predictions and tips: Kerber faces giant-slaying Kasatkina for semi-final spot

Andrew Hendrie in WTA 15 Mar 2018
  • Angelique Kerber vs Daria Kasatkina is live from Indian Wells at 11.00am local time on Thursday (6.00pm GMT)
  • H2H locked at 2-2, with Kasatkina winning two of their three meetings last year
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Indian Wells at Unibet > live streaming > tennis
Angelique Kerber (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Daria Kasatkina has already defeated the reigning Australian Open and U.S. Open champions at the BNP Paribas Open - can she add former World No. 1 and 10th seed Angelique Kerber to her list of scalps when they clash in the Indian Wells quarter-finals on Thursday?

Watch and bet on Kerber vs Kasatkina live from Indian Wells at Unibet > live streaming > tennis. Their quarter-final clash begins at 11.00am local time on Thursday (6.00pm GMT).

Angelique Kerber attempts to stop the in-form and dangerous Daria Kasatkina in the Premier Mandatory BNP Paribas Open quarter-finals on Thursday in Indian Wells. Kerber has been electrifying in a resurgent start to 2018, winning 17 of her 20 matches, but she’s lost two of her last three meetings with Kasatkina - can the rising Russian, who has actually defeated all four current Grand Slam champions since the U.S. Open in September, continue her sensational run of form into a first Indian Wells semi-final? Kerber and Kasatkina take to court at 11.00am local time on Thursday (6.00pm GMT).

After surviving a tough match with the always-tricky Ekaterina Makarova in her Indian Wells opener earlier in the week (prevailing in three sets), Kerber has gone from strength to strength in the Californian desert, firstly dismantling defending champion Elena Vesnina in the third round 7-5 6-2 before dropping just two games in a blistering and dominant performance over World No. 7 Caroline Garcia in the Round of 16 on Tuesday night. Kerber was near flawless in the 6-2 minute 6-1 6-1 rout, converting six of her 13 break point chances and winning almost 60 per cent of return points off Garcia’s serve as she improved her record over the Frenchwoman to 4-2.

"For sure, I’m still trying to improve my tennis," Kerber said after the match. "I’m trying to be aggressive and trying to change a few things in my game, and also having the mentality again, like fighting for every ball and trying to stay motivated. Just focusing on every single match that I can play."

Kerber has experienced a mixed bag of results at Indian Wells over the years. After making the third round on debut in 2008, she didn’t win a match at the tournament until making back-to-back semi-finals in 2012-13, defeating the likes of Na Li, Garbine Muguruza, Sloane Stephens and Samantha Stosur as she began to rise to the upper echelon of women’s tennis. However, Kerber didn’t win a match in the desert for the next three years, suffering first round exits in 2014, 2015 and 2016 to Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, Sloane Stephens and Denis Allertova respectively, while she was knocked out in the fourth round last season by Vesnina, who of course went on to win the title.


But Kerber is looking increasingly likely to put herself into a position to challenge for the title this time around, continuing on from an outstanding start to 2018, which included winning all four of her singles her matches at the Hopman Cup for Germany, capturing her first title since the 2016 U.S. Open at the Apia International in Sydney, reaching the Australian Open semi-finals (suffering her first loss to an in-form Halep in a thriller) and making the quarter-finals of Doha (losing to Caroline Wozniacki) and the semi-finals of Dubai (going down to Elina Svitolina). It’s taken top five players to beat Kerber so far in 2018 - is Daria Kasatkina playing at that kind of level at the moment?

Daria Kasatkina (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Potentially. Ever since the tail-end of last season, Kasatkina has been playing some terrific tennis, starting by reaching the fourth round of the U.S. Open (where she beat French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko), reaching the Premier Mandatory China Open quarter-finals in Beijing, the Round of 16 in Wuhan (beating Simona Halep) and finishing runner-up at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow to finish 2017 ranked inside the top 25 - a solid end to the year after some disappointing moments during the first half of the season, notwithstanding picking up a first WTA title on the green clay of Charleston.

Kasatkina went a lacklustre 1-3 during the Australian summer in January, losing in the opening round of Brisbane and Sydney and the second round of the Australian Open to Magda Linette, but she’s been on fire ever since. The 20-year-old beat recently-crowned Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki on her way to the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy semi-finals before conquering Johanna Konta, Elena Vesnina and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza on her way to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship final, losing to Elina Svitolina.

Initially reaching the Indian Wells quarter-finals on her main draw debut in 2016, Kasatkina is playing superbly in the desert once again, toppling U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens and Wozniacki once again to sail into the last eight. Kasatkina came from a break down in both sets to beat Wozniacki, using her heavy forehand intelligently as she dictated the majority of baseline points while matching the Dane’s efforts in defence.

"I'm just going on court and actually now enjoying every minute during I'm playing," Kasatkina said. "I'm playing best matches against the best players. But as I say, if you want to be on the top, you have to beat the top players. So, quite simple rule.”

Yes, a very simple rule - but can Kasatkina figure out the Kerber puzzle on Thursday? She did two times last season, winning early in the year in Sydney and Doha before Kerber got revenge in Tokyo. I think this match has three sets written all over it, while you can also expect PLENTY of long rallies. Kasatkina is playing inspired tennis right now and probably has a little more ‘oomph’ on her rally ball than Kerber, but the German is simply a brick wall from the baseline at the moment and is playing 100x better than what she did last year when she suffered those two defeats. Kasatkina will provide a stern challenge and I believe she will take a set, but when push comes to shove, Kerber is just playing too well this season to back against.



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Angelique Kerber vs Daria Kasatkina WTA Indian Wells tennis preview, predictions and tips: Kerber faces giant-slaying Kasatkina for semi-final spot

Daria Kasatkina has already defeated the reigning Australian Open and U.S. Open champions at the BNP Paribas Open - can she add former World No. 1 and 10th seed Angelique Kerber to her list of scalps when they clash in the Indian Wells quarter-finals on Thursday?

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