WTA tennis is at a crucial junction, with many young stars beginning to take the spot of some of the successful veterans of years gone by. One name that is beginning to really make a lot of waves in the WTA circuit is Daria Kasatkina. She has become the first WTA player to win two trophies on the 2021 WTA calendar. Her victory in the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, defeating Margarita Gasparyan 6-3, 2-1 prior to retirement via back injury, pushes Kasatkina up to an impressive four career titles.
In what has been a whirlwind start to the new decade for Kasatkina, there is palpable excitement about what comes next. Having won the Phillip Island Trophy last month, too, Kasatkina has made trophy winning a thing in 2021 – and looks set to continue her incredible development. Indeed, this is a mild revival for the Russian, winning on home soil in a major trophy win to help cap off a great start to 2021.
She came through a tough game against Clara Tauson in the first round, and the No. 8 seed soon overcame against Aliaksandra Sasnovich, coming back from a set down to win three on the spin. She also defeated the No.2 Veronika Kudermtova, and then defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova in the last four. So, it has been nothing easy for the Russian to make her way to another trophy final – and the final itself was fraught with drama and incident.
Indeed, until Gasparyan has to pull out with a back injury, the final itself was a pretty close-fought affair. Winning the first set 6-3, Kasatkina came out flying in the next, going up 2-1 before the game was called off due to her opponents’ injury.
The rise of the Russians shows no signs of slowing down
While it was Kasatkina who came out on top in the final, it was the 30th All-Russian final we have had this century at WTA level. Indeed, it also made Kasatkina the first player to win two WTA 500 events on Russian territory. Her first win came in 2018 when she managed to lift herself into the Top 10 in the WTA Rankings. Given her current form, another rise in the rankings is almost certain to come as the tennis season continues to rise on.
Indeed, she had dropped as far back as the 75th spot on the rankings and now the 23-year-old will want to build on a rampaging run of form. From the doldrums of her poor form in 2019 to the title-winning glory of 2021, it looks like this could be another Russian star who is rising to the very top of the WTA rankings.
Praising her coaching staff after the match, it now is very likely to propel Kasatkina back into the Top 50 as she pushes for a place in the Top 25 once again. Marked as a prodigious talent at youth, it is fair to say that the Russian starlet is now beginning to make good on her immense potential.