Preview 1/8 Finals Berlin Ladies Open: Aryna Sabalenka starts grass-swing against Daria Kasatkina

Wednesday, 19 June 2024 at 00:30
Aryna Sabalenka will debut at the WTA Berlin Ladies Open against a tough opponent, Daria Kasatkina, marking her first grass match of 2024.
The Belarusian had a bittersweet clay swing, despite strong campaigns, losing in the finals of the WTA 1000 Madrid Open and Rome Open to Iga Swiatek and being upset in the quarterfinals of the French Open by teenager Mirra Andreeva.
The world No. 3 recently withdrew from the 2024 Paris Olympic Games due to the tight WTA schedule and the potential physical strain from surface changes: “Unfortunately, I will not be able to participate in the 2024 Paris Olympics. I have always loved representing my country in any competition, however, I must listen to my body and follow my medical team's advice.”
Amidst the controversy, Sabalenka will face a challenging rival on Wednesday, June 19: world No. 14 Daria Kasatkina. This will be their ninth meeting, with Sabalenka leading the head-to-head 6-2. Their last three matches have been decisive victories for the Belarusian.
Kasatkina arrives after a hard-fought win against Marta Kostyuk, who was two points away from victory. The Russian staged a great comeback to win the match 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3. The 26-year-old will be under pressure during the grass swing as she must defend the points from her Eastbourne International final within a week, while she remains in the fight to return to the top 10.
‘Dasha’ had a humorous reaction when she learned on-court that her next opponent would be Sabalenka: “Sh**,” she laughed into the camera. Later, Kasatkina reflected on the tough draw in Berlin, saying, “This 500 is special. You can get a top player in the first round, so it’s a very tough tournament. The list of players is incredible. Especially when you play your first match on grass, it’s going to be tricky. I felt that in the first set, but then I got used to it a little bit more.”
Aryna Sabalenka at 2024 French Open

Jabeur, Zheng, and azarenka aim for quarterfinals

The round of 16 started on Tuesday with the match between Ons Jabeur (No. 10) and China's Wang Xinyu (No. 40) in the evening session. The Tunisian took the first set 6-4, but the match was suspended due to rain and will resume after Victoria Azarenka’s (No. 19) debut. The former world No. 1 faces 22-year-old Turkish surprise Zeynep Sonmez (No. 157), who came through qualifying and upset Arantxa Rus (No. 58) in the first round.
Later, Zheng Qinwen (No. 8), full of confidence after a solid win over 4-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka (No. 111) in her debut 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, will take to the court. The young Chinese player will face Katerina Siniakova (No. 30), in a rematch of their first-round encounter at Wimbledon 2023, where the Czech player surprised the then 24th seed.
The 2023 Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova (No. 6) returns to the grass courts after a smooth debut against Rebeka Masarova (No. 100), winning 6-4, 6-3. The 24-year-old Czech will face Anna Kalinskaya (No. 24). The Russian did not replicate her strong early-year form during the clay swing and seeks to overcome the inconsistent results of recent months.

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