Venus vs. Kasatkina
|Date & Time||Friday March 16, 2018, 11:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
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Daria Kasatkina and Venus Williams meet in the semifinals of the 2018 Indian Wells Masters.
Daria Kasatkina is coming off a straight sets win over Angelique Kerber that took 14 games to decide. In the victory, Kasatkina won 69 percent of her first serve points and 86 percent of her second serve points. Kasatkina continues what has been an incredible tournament, as she just dominated one of the top players in the world and now has three straight wins over top-20 players. Kasatkina is coming off a match in which she won 59 percent of her return points and broke five times on six chances. Kasatkina hasn’t been in this spot often at just 20 years old, so it will be interesting to see how she deals with nerves, but this is clearly a breakthrough moment for the young Russian. Kasatkina hopes to make the second final appearance of the year and her fourth final appearance of her career. Kasatkina has won eight of her last nine matches on hard court.
Venus Williams is coming off a straight sets win over Carla Suarez Navarro that took 17 games to decide. In the victory, Venus won 74 percent of her first serve points and 53 percent of her second serve points. Venus has yet to drop a set this tournament and is coming off a match in which she got 67 percent of her first serves in play. Venus has been consistent with her serve all tournament and looks like the fresh player we saw for long stretches last season. Venus has won five of her last eight semifinal appearances overall. Venus hopes to make her first final appearance of the year and the 84th for her career. Venus has won seven of her last 11 matches on hard court.
These two have split their only two meetings. Venus won the most recent match in the 2016 Wimbledon and Kasatkina won in Auckland in 2016. Both matches needed three sets to be decided.
Kasatkina deserves credit and consideration to win this match given the path she’s taken to get here and the fact she beat a top-10 player without breaking a sweat. But at some point experience has to take its toll, and you rarely see players with very little success on big stages come out of nowhere and make a run to the finals. Venus is serving at a very high level, and that’s when she’s most dangerous. Venus also usually plays her best on American soil.
Kasatkina made me look stupid in the Kerber match, but I’m going to back Venus to reach the final.