The 2017 Volvo Car Open was full of everything a tennis fanatic could dream of - exhilarating tennis - filled with upsets and breakout stars, fan-friendly activities, food trucks and lots of opportunities to interact with your favorite players. The two finalists, rising teen superstars Daria Kasatkina and Jelena Ostapenko battled in the first all-teen final since 2009 in Linz with Russian player “Dasha” finally taking the crown—her first WTA title ever.
It was a breakthrough tournament for hometown sweetheart, Shelby Rogers. Out of her four previous appearances in Daniel Island, she had only taken home one win. All that changed this year when she upset top seed Madison Keys in the second round of the tournament. Rogers made it all the way to the quarterfinals after breezing by Naomi Osaka on Thursday night and represented her city with a shirt gifted to her by doubles standout, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, which read “Ms.Rogers Neighborhood.” Though Rogers was knocked out by veteran Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, the hometown crowd got a taste of what Rogers had to offer and couldn’t help but pour out their support for the local hotshot.
The matchup was a surprise: two unseeded players had reached the finals of the Volvo Car Open. But it also intrigued. Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, ranked 66th in the world, and the Russian, 42nd-ranked Daria Kasatkina, were not only both just 19 years old, but each was seeking her first WTA singles title. It was the first all-teenage final on tour in more than seven years.
The first four games were spirited, the style contrast between these two demonstrated quite vividly. Ostapenko – who’d struck an astounding 40 winners in her quarterfinal win over 2011 champion Caroline Wozniacki – had the heavy-duty artillery in the form of her concussive groundstrokes. Kasatkina, far more measured, absorbed those blows – and then struck. With Ostapenko serving at 2-2, 15-30, Kasatkina laced a deep backhand crosscourt service return that in turn gave her the chance to delicately carve another crosscourt backhand – in this case, a deft drop that elicited a pair of break points that in time put her ahead 3-2.
The Charleston final will feature a pair of teenagers as 19 year olds Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) and Daria Kasatkina (RUS) seek their first career WTA singles title.
It is the first all-teen WTA singles final since October 2009 when Yanina Wickmayer (then 19 y/o) defeated Petra Kvitova (then 19 y/o) in the final at Linz.
9:15-10 - Mattek-Sands and Safarova
11-12 - Ostapenko
9-10 - Hradecka and Siniakova
11-12 - Kasatkina
Singles Final – 1:00 p.m., Volvo Car Stadium
Daria Kasatkina vs. Jelena Ostapenko
- Ostapenko leads 1-0 (Eastbourne ’16 1st rd. 46, 62, 63)
Finals matchups assume many flavors. Some pit longstanding rivals. Others involve veterans or surprise contenders, each hungry to grab a big title. And then there are those between two potential stars – the kind of match that years later, you want to say you saw before either player made even bigger statements at the majors.
Though Daria Kasatkina is 19 years old, you’d hardly know it from the maturity she showed in beating Laura Siegemund 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the semifinals of the Volvo Car Open.
It was an intriguing matchup. Here was Siegemund, the 29-year-old late bloomer who this week had beaten three seeds with a dazzling array of speeds and spins. Kasatkina, also tactically astute, was seeking to reach her first WTA singles final.
Residence: Riga, Latvia
Date of Birth: 08 Jun 1997
Birthplace: Riga, Latvia
Height: 5' 10" (1.77 m)
Weight: 150 lbs. (68 kg)
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
A lively week of tennis, marked by upsets, challenging conditions and new contenders, has reached the business end. Here’s a look at Saturday's singles and doubles semis.
Singles semifinal #1 – 1:00 p.m., Volvo Car Stadium
Daria Kasatkina vs. Laura Siegemund
- first WTA meeting (Kasatkina leads 2-0 at ITF events)
As the quarterfinals began yesterday at the Volvo Car Open, eight women were filled with happiness and hope. For a great many pros, getting this far is often considered a fine showing. But, of course, the desire for more is always present.
The most compelling moments came during the day’s third quarterfinal featuring Shelby Rogers and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.
- It's been a breakthrough event for Shelby Rogers, who had won one match here in four previous appearance but is into the quarterfinals after a win Thursday night over Naomi Osaka. Rogers upset Madison Keys in the second round Wednesday. She's a former ball girl who is now a bonafide WTA pro. She made the quarterfinals at the French Open last year.
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