Venus Williams vs Daria Kasatkina WTA Indian Wells tennis preview, predictions and tips: Williams and Kasatkina target first Indian Wells final

Andrew Hendrie in WTA 16 Mar 2018
  • Venus Williams vs Daria Kasatkina is live from Indian Wells at 7.00pm local time on Friday (2.00am GMT, Saturday)
  • The pair have split their two previous encounters (both in 2016), with Kasatkina winning in Auckland and Williams prevailing at Wimbledon
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Indian Wells at Unibet > live streaming > tennis
Venus Williams (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Venus Williams is just two wins away from a first WTA title since 2016 - can the legendary American stop the dream run of rising Russian star Daria Kasatkina to make her maiden BNP Paribas Open final in Indian Wells on Friday night?

Watch and bet on Williams vs Kasatkina live from Indian Wells at Unibet > live streaming > tennis. Their semi-final clash begins at 7.00pm local time on Friday (2.00am GMT, Saturday).

Competing in her first Indian Wells semi-final since 2001, eighth seed Venus Williams goes up against the in-form Daria Kasatkina for a spot in the Premier Mandatory BNP Paribas Open final on Friday night. Both Williams and Kasatkina have been on fire this week in the desert, advancing into the semi-finals without relinquishing a set, with Venus beating the likes of her sister Serena and Carla Suarez Navarro and the 20-year-old Russian conquering two current Grand Slam champions and a former World No. 1 and two-time major winner. It should be a cracking contest as Williams and Kasatkina take to court at 7.00pm local time on Friday (2.00am GMT, Saturday).

Without a win on the WTA Tour in 2018 as she arrived in the Californian desert for the first Premier Mandatory event of the season, Venus Williams has produced some superb tennis and come through an extremely tough draw to make her first Indian Wells semi-final in nearly two decades. Of course, the reason for Williams failing to make this stage of the tournament for the last 17 years is due to her and sister Serena’s boycott from 2002 to 2014 after being the subject of alleged racial abuse from fans. But, after returning in 2016 and reaching the quarter-finals last season, Williams is now just one match away from her first ever BNP Paribas Open final.

As mentioned, it’s been a demanding draw for Williams. Sorana Cirstea is one of the more dangerous unseeded floaters going around at the moment, but Williams was was able to subdue the powerful Romanian and come away with a straight sets win. Next came the big one - sister Serena, making her long-awaited comeback after 14 months on the sidelines, but Williams was able to handle the occasion with aplomb, claiming her first win over Serena since 2014 and her first straight sets triumph over the 23-time Grand Slam champion since 2009. With all of the euphoria and emotions of that match still fresh in her mind, Williams did a tremendous job of pushing it all to the side as she squared off against Anastasija Sevastova in the Round of 16, coming from a break down in both sets as she registered a 7-6(6) 6-4 win in the quarter-finals. Next up was Carla Suarez Navarro - the diminutive Spaniard who has beaten Venus three times and took out Elina Svitolina earlier in the tournament - but Williams once again proved too strong, swiftly brushing aside the 27th seed for the loss of just five games, 6-3 6-2.


While Williams has been riding an incredible resurgence wave for over two years now, the glaring absence of a title has got to be eating away at her. The 37-year-old last lifted a trophy in February 2016 at the relatively weak WTA International event in Kaohsiung, with Williams coming so close last season to adding title No. 50 to her trophy cabinet, making two more major finals at the Australian Open and Wimbledon (losing to Serena and Garbine Muguruza respectively), along with the season-ending WTA Finals Singapore, where she went down to Caroline Wozniacki. Williams also reached the semi-finals of the U.S. Open and Miami Open and the quarter-finals of Rome - can she finally claim that elusive piece of silverware in Indian Wells?

Daria Kasatkina (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Daria Kasatkina is the woman standing in her way in the last four. The 20-year-old Russian has been a rather prominent figure on the WTA Tour for quite a while now despite her tender age, but over the last six months or so, she’s really stepped up and showcased her top 10 talent and Grand Slam winning potential.

It all started towards end of last season as Kasatkina reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open (where she beat French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko), the Premier Mandatory China Open quarter-finals in Beijing, the Round of 16 in Wuhan (beating Simona Halep) and the final at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow (falling to an in-form Julia Goerges) 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 disappointing 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. Kasatkina 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 - and she’s taken her game to new heights in Indian Wells.

The 20-year-old hasn’t dropped a set in victories over Katerina Siniakova, Sloane Stephens, Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber to make her first Premier Mandatory semi-final. Three names obviously stand out there - U.S. Open and Australian Open champions Stephens and Wozniacki, meaning Kasatkina currently holds wins over all four reigning major winners, while her 6-0 6-2 demolition of two-time slam champion and former No. 1 Kerber was insane. Kasatkina showcased her full repertoire of shots in the 57-minute rout, completely dismantling Kerber, who has been operating at a top five level all season.

Can Kasatkina extend her dream run into a first Premier Mandatory final? She knows what it takes to beat Williams, doing so in the first round of Auckland on hardcourts in 2016, while Venus returned the favour in a thrilling Wimbledon third round clash later that year, prevailing 10-8 in the third. Kasatkina’s heavy forehand and impeccable baseline play (attack and defence) has been impenetrable so far this week, while Williams has been very dominant herself, serving solidly in windy conditions and on song with her booming groundstrokes. It will be attack vs defence, and on these slow hardcourts, defence is always going to have the advantage. It’s such a big moment for Kasatkina, but she’s proven she can handle these occasions now - I’m leaning on the side of the Russian to emerge victorious in a thriller.



Share this with your friends

To:
From:
Your comments:

Venus Williams vs Daria Kasatkina WTA Indian Wells tennis preview, predictions and tips: Williams and Kasatkina target first Indian Wells final

Venus Williams is just two wins away from a first WTA title since 2016 - can the legendary American stop the dream run of rising Russian star Daria Kasatkina to make her maiden BNP Paribas Open final in Indian Wells on Friday night?

Read more »

You have unread messages

You have unread messages