Louisa Chirico Takes Out Plucky Naomi Osaka in Charleston, Kasatkina Advances
Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
Louisa Chirico was ready for the battle. “I was ready for her today”, she proclaimed on court after a first round win at the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, South Carolina. Osaka was at a career-high ranking of #95, and the 18-year-old just beat Sara Errani in Miami two weeks ago and looked strong in qualifying. Chirico, the American wild card, was up to the task. After double-faulting the first set away to Osaka, Chirico stole a service break in the first game of the second set and never looked back en route to a 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 runaway victory. Chirico committed six double faults in the first set but found her serve just in time for the second set. She’ll face Lucie Safarova in the next round.
Daria Katkasina also advanced early in the day with a 6-2, 6-1 breezer, beating Saisai Zheng in straight sets on Stadium Court. The 18-year-old Kasatkina favors clay and it showed. After making the quarters at Indian Wells last month, she’s at a career high #35 and made good on her Charleston debut. Today also marked the 100th win in her pro career that’s less than two years old. She expressed surprise at the milestone, saying “100th already? I only started playing pro last year. It’s unbelieveable… Last year I played seven months on clay. I really like the surface and I like to play here.” Kasatkina plays Ana Konjuh in the second round.
Shuai Zhang and Yulia Putintseva also moved on to second round play, with Zhang knocking out qualifier Lesley Kerkhove, 6-1, 6-2 and Putintseva running away from Kurumi Nara 7-6(4), 6-0. Zhang will face Daria Gavrilova, while Putintseva will meet Sabine Lisicki.