MOSCOW, Russia - Daria Kasatkina beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, to make her way into the semifinals of the Kremlin Cup.
It was a match in which neither player held very often, struggling to make their first serves count.
"I am glad I managed to close out the first set and closed out that match," Kasatkina said via a translator on court afterwards.
The Russian made a brilliant start, securing a double break to race to a 4-0 lead, but Sasnovich was dogged and got herself on the board with a break of her own.
Kasatkina looked unstoppable on her opponent’s serve, breaking once more to give herself the opportunity to serve out the first set.
But the Belarusian took the third of three break points and then held serve to close the gap – and broke once more to keep herself in it.
Kasatkina clung on, though, as she used her forehand brilliantly and benefited from a Sasnovich double fault to break to love and take the set 6-4.
The pair exchanged breaks at the start of the second set, but after that the Russian took command, using her brilliant forehand to force her opponent into errors.
Kasatkina will next face Irina-Camelia Begu, who beat qualifier Vera Lapko, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 - but she did not know her opponent until later in the day, and immediately after the match she said whoever she faced she would need to improve her game.
"I need to be playing more aggressively because these are very powerful girls," admitted Kasatkina.