Indian Wells: Rising star Naomi Osaka wins 1st title

VenusWilliams- Cropped
American Venus Williams
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21 March, 2018

In a match between 20-year-olds, No. 44 Naomi Osaka won her first tournament title on the WTA Tour on Sunday defeating 20 seed Daria Kasatkina of Russian Federation 6-3, 6-2 to win the BNP Paribas Open, a Premier Mandatory event.

Naomi Osaka had just won her first WTA title on Sunday, and was understandably finding it hard to put the achievement into words.

In a match-up of 20-year-old rising stars, Osaka needed just 70 minutes to dispatch world No. 19 Kasatkina, who had an equally impressive showing in the desert.

Among those the Russian beat was U.S. Open victor Sloane Stephens, No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki, No. 10 Angelique Kerber and No. 8 Venus Williams. She will be ranked No. 22 on Monday; Kasatkina will be No. 11.

She earned $1,340,860 for the victory, almost double her career winnings of $1,483,053. "I think we were both nervous at the beginning, because (this was our) biggest finals so far".

Coaching time-outs for the pair are telling as always with Sascha Bajin geeing up Osaka's concerns that her lead was more down to Kasatkina's errors, by telling her to shake up her serving, and to only worry about what she has to do.

Kasatkina, who wasn't even born when Williams first competed at Indian Wells, said she really felt the nerves getting to her on the big stage in the final.

After pulling off a string of upsets at the BNP Paribas Open, Osaka thrashed Russia's Daria Kasatkina in the final in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2.

"I can not believe I won this tournament, beating Roger in a great final and level of tennis", Del Potro said.

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Osaka blasted five aces, made three double faults and won 79 percent of her first-serve points.

Osaka and Kasatkina shared a private jet - their first such ride - to South Florida, where they will play in the Miami Open this week.

"I would like to thank Dasha for being super nice and also being a really cool person to play against", Osaka said.

The 20-year-old is the youngest champion at Indian Wells since Ana Ivanovic in 2008.

The 26-year-old Halep improved to 18-1 on the season and is looking to win her second WTA Tour title of 2018.

"OK, never mind, " she quickly blurted.

Osaka has impressed a lot this week with her mental fortitude throughout the tournament, but admitted that she had to keep a calm fa├žade.

Osaka began to introduce herself during the trophy ceremony before realising everyone in the stadium already knew who she was.

"I don't think so", she said with a grin. It was his first win against Federer since last year's U.S. Open quarters.


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