One of the new faces on the women’s tour this year has been Daria Kasatkina. The 19-year-old Russian was put in the spotlight at the Australian Open when she faced Serena Williams in the third round.
Since then, she’s kept improving reached the quarterfinals at Indian Wells and the third rounds at the French and Wimbledon where she pushed Venus Williams to 10-8 in the third.
Now ranked No. 33, in her Canadian debut she has made the quarterfinals in Montreal where after upsetting US Open finalist Roberta Vinci, today she’ll meet Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber.
Kasatkina says she was introduced to tennis by her brother.
“He used to play, but just for fun,” she said. “He was amateur. I was small. I was six years old. He come to my parents and he said, If you want to put Dasha in some sport, you have to put her in tennis because there is everything. You move with the legs. You using all your body. It’s very good for the kid.”
And her idol growing up? None other than Rafael Nadal.
“Since I was eight years old, I start to watch Rafa’s game from Roland Garros 2005 when he won his first Grand Slam, Roland Garros,” Kasatkina said. “I just fell in love with his game, with his character, everything. Since the tournament, I start to love him as a player.
“I love everything. How he play, how he behave. So for me he’s the perfect example how I have to be as a sportsman.”
While Kasatkina is having good success on the hardcourt, like Nadal, she prefers the clay which helps with her spin.
“Last year I used to play seven months on clay, and it was really good result,” she said. “But after I start to play more on hard courts. It’s much less tournaments on clay. So I’m more adapt to hard courts. But still I like to play on clay because I like the game. It’s little bit slower and you can play more tactic, you can play with your opponent. Still I love clay.”
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