Naomi Osaka wins first WTA title

Venus sets up semi-final clash with Kasatkina
Daria Kasatkina vs Naomi Osaka: Indian Wells final preview and prediction
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21 March, 2018

20-year-old Naomi Osaka shocked the tennis world this weekend by taking the title in Indian Wells, defeating fellow 20-year-old Daria Kasatkina 6-3 6-2 in just 70 minutes in the final.

Osaka's win on Sunday capped a run that included victories over two-time victor Maria Sharapova, No. 5 Karolina Pliskova and top-ranked Simona Halep during the two-week tournament. With this historic victory, Osaka became the first person from her country to triumph in Indian Wells and her reward is a new career-high ranking of 22.

Kasatkina, who will be ranked a career-high No. 11 on Monday, was contesting a second consecutive final, having finished as runner-up in Dubai last month.

She was broken in the opening game of the match but from 3-all Osaka dominated while Kasatkina failed to play with confidence. I think we were both nervous at the beginning, because the biggest finals so far.

BC-TEN-Osaka Rising, 477 Naomi Osaka on her way up with first pro tennis titleAP Photo IDW101, IDW107, IDW105, IDW109, IDW110Eds: With AP Photos. She's hitting her forehand, backhand.

"I wasn't that aggressive, " Osaka said.

She has plenty of years ahead of her to improve her delivery as much as she already has improved her game.

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

Osaka will be back in action later this week at the Miami Open.

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"She probably wasn't going to give me any balls so I just had to stay very consistent", Osaka said. I just knew that she was going to fight for every point, too. "But during the match she was able to manage her nerves and stuff, and I was still a little bit tight".

Kasatkina and Osaka will be sharing a private jet to Miami where they will be competing next, with the Russian joking that she hoped they would get there without fighting too much, while Osaka smiled as she wondered whether Kasatkina would talk to her on the flight. A victory in Sunday's final would move her into the top 10.

Afterward, she admitted, "That was pretty embarrassing".

But she said she never had felt more nervous.

Osaka summed up the imminent final, the first-time meeting between the two young stars, perfectly: "I feel like we're a new generation that is trying to push through".

Del Potro became the first Argentine victor in the 42-year history of the desert tournament.

Osaka had a tough draw on paper, but only lost one set (to Maria Sakkari in the fourth round) en route to the title. Federer's 17-match winning streak - the best start of his career - ended. Del Potro trails in their series 18-7.

Del Potro recovered to deuce with a forehand victor.


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