Daria Kasatkina claimed her first WTA title in an all-teen affair, outlasting Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets to win the Volvo Car Open.
WTA Staff

CHARLESTON, SC, USA - In the first all-teen WTA final since 2009, Daria Kasatkina knocked out former junior colleague Jelena Ostapenko, 6-3, 6-1, to win her first WTA title at the Volvo Car Open.

"It's very difficult to describe my feeling now," she said in her post-victory press conference. "I feel I'm just sleeping and everything is not real. I'm so happy. Really."

Kasatkina and Ostapenko took back-to-back Grand Slam titles back in 2014, the Russian winning the girls' French Open while the Latvian swept the junior Wimbledon Championships, and the two have been on a collision course since making their WTA debuts the following year.

Ostapenko was in her third career final after finishing runner-up at the Tournoi de Québec in 2015 and the Qatar Total Open in 2016, and won their only previous tour-level meeting last year at the Aegon International in Eastbourne.

But Kasatkina proved far more at home on clay after earning wins over Olympic champion Monica Puig, good friend Daria Gavrilova, No.10 seed Irina-Camelia Begu, and clay court specialist Laura Siegemund en route to her first final.

"Yesterday evening and all night I couldn't sleep. I woke up during the whole night like two or three times. I was so nervous, you cannot imagine. I was feeling like, I want to just go on the court and everything, let's finish, play. I cannot feeling this anymore. But now it was worth it."

The pair exchanged early breaks to start the match; Ostapenko won a long sixth game to level the opening set only to see Kasatkina run away with the contest from there, losing just one more game in the 66-minute match.

"I was ready to be on the court five, six hours. Because it's a final, I have to be ready for everything, but I'm happy that I finished it in, let's say, an easy way. So I am very happy and proud of myself.

"When I won the last ball, everything like closed and I just feel like I'm dreaming." 

Playing clean, consistent tennis, Kasatkina struck just six winners to the Latvian's 25, but also only seven unforced errors to Ostapenko's 38, and converted five of seven break point chances over two sets.

"Today, the tactic was to be a little bit more defensive, go back, spin, slice the ball because it's clay, and she's playing really aggressive. Usually she beats aggressive players because she likes this type of game, everything. So we decided that I have to go back and make her tired. It was a good tactic, I think."

"I was playing good all the days this week," Ostapenko said after the match. "I beat some great players, but today was really not my day, and I just didn't feel the ball that well. I was missing too much, and because she was defending during the whole match. It was just probably not my day.

"I think I got a bit more consistent on clay, and I think I improved my serve and I'm moving better, but I still have a lot of things to work on. I think it's pretty good because now I can climb in the ranking."

The Russian will move back into the Top 30 after the win as she aims to return to Roland Garros as a seed for the second straight year, while Ostapenko returns to the Top 50 following her impressive week and wins over former No.1 Caroline Wozniacki and Australian Open semifinalist Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

Kasatkina joins an illustrious list of former champions, including Stefanie Graf, Martina Navratilova, Martina Hingis, and Venus Williams. None of that had quite sunk in with the 19-year-old so soon after the match.

"I need to prepare for these things. It never happened to me before. So little bit makeup for the pictures!" she said when asked about a post-victory portrait.

"I don't realize it yet, so I'm just enjoying it every moment, every second. And really, when I was on the court after the last point, I just wanted the moment to stop because it was one of the best moments in my life."

Earlier in the day, World No.1 Bethanie Mattek-Sands took her third title of the year, and second with partner Lucie Safarova, overcoming a tough test from BNP Paribas Open finalists Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova, 6-1, 4-6, 10-7.

All photos courtesy of the Volvo Car Open.