Kasatkina magic spells end for Vondrousova

 - Dan Imhoff

Last year's semi-finalist outwits former finalist to reach third round

Daria Kasatkina, Roland-Garros 2023, second round© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Daria Kasatkina has emerged from a battle of two gifted artists to deny former finalist Marketa Vondrousova in the second round at Roland-Garros.

In a captivating spectacle of shot-making on Court Suzanne-Lenglen the ninth seed punched her ticket 6-3, 6-4.

Story of the match

Vondrousova first stamped her Grand Slam credentials four years when unseeded she went on a tear in Paris before succumbing to Ashleigh Barty in the final.

Yet to pass the quarter-finals at a major since, she is back on the ascent with three of her nine top-10 wins coming this year alone.

While the Czech was sidelined due to wrist surgery during last year’s Roland-Garros, Kastakina went on a roll in Paris.

The ninth seed notched her maiden major semi-final and with points to defend this fortnight, the 26-year-old soon took control.

Despite falling behind an immediate break, Kasatkina knew she could not let the Czech lefty dictate and set about out- manoeuvring her opponent.

Both were masters at exploring every angle of the court and after almost an hour, it was Charleston semi-finalist Kasatkina who snuck the one-set advantage.

Brimming with confidence at 2-3, 30-all in the second set, she pulled off a crosscourt tweener passing shot, lifting the Court Suzanne-Lenglen crowd on her way to a 3-all hold.

The ninth seed barely blinked again, sealing a showdown with American Peyton Stearns after an hour and 44 minutes.

Key stats

The win improved Kasatkina’s record against the Czech to 3-2, her first since Rome four years ago.

While her 23 winners (20 off the forehand) were three fewer, Kasatkina kept her error count lower. Her 26 unforced errors were nine fewer than the Czech’s.

Vondrousova could only convert 2/12 break point opportunities throughout the match.

What the winner said

Speaking to Mats Wilander on court, Kasatkina said: "I'm telling you it's fun to watch but to be on court to play against Marketa it's a pain in a---. I think we showed a very good level of tennis, very interesting points and yeah it was very tough, physically it was a big battle so I'm happy I was able to handle it because second set was very tough.

On enjoying the hot, dry conditions: "Even though it's very hot and it's difficult to be here on the court, for my game it's better. When it's warm and when the ball bounces it fits my game better. I prefer to play in the morning or afternoon when it's sunny. I just feel like I have more advantage like that."