Vesnina, Kasatkina and Osaka advance in Dubai

Vesnina, Kasatkina and Osaka

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, UAE

[23] Elena Vesnina (RUS) vs. [32] Shuai Peng (CHN)

Play on centre court started off with Vesnina battling Peng. Peng had two battles going on: Vesnina and her persistent right knee injury. Despite the straight sets victory, it was not emotionally easy for the Russian. A slew of unforced forehand errors had her screaming out in frustration. It was completely understandable considering they were opportunities to break her opponent.

The Russian faced two battles as well: her emotions and Peng. Peng fought to the end despite struggling with her lateral movement; thus, Vesnina needed to remain calm and focused to secure the 6-4, 7-5 victory. Sadly Peng double faulted to give the match to her opponent.


[24] Daria Kasatkina (RUS) vs. [31] Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)

The next match pitted a former top ten player, Radwanska, against a rising young Russian star, Kasatkina. It was not a pretty match as both players were clearly anxious and struggled to hold serve.  Just when it seemed as if one player had seized the momentum, they promptly lost their focus and their serve; however, both continued to fight through the nerves.

It’s not who took the lead that mattered, it was who could hold on to the lead in the end that counted and it was the Russian, who won 7-5, 6-4, despite giving up her early break leads in both sets.



[14] Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) vs. [48] Naomi Osaka (JPN)

This was their first meeting and it was slated to showcase the power of both players. They both had big serves and forehands and it came down to who was more accurate with their weapons. Osaka plays with one strategy, attack.

Her pace and the depth of her shots kept Mladenovic unbalanced. She broke early and despite dropping her serve once in each set, she never relinquished her lead.  Mladenovic at times appeared injured, which did not help her cause and in the end it was an easy 6-2, 6-2 victory for the Japanese player.

Osaka appears to be growing into her game and with each victory her confidence grows as well.

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