Daria Kasatkina scored the biggest win of her young career on Tuesday, downing world number one Angelique Kerber 7-6(5), 6-2 to reach the Apia International Sydney quarterfinals.
While she enjoyed a fantastic season in 2016, Kasatkina was just 2-10 against top 10 players, and that trend continued early on this year as she coughed up a match point against Garbine Muguruza in Brisbane last week.
She made sure that did not happen against Kerber, maintaining her composure to pull away late in the second set.
“First, my thought was finally, I won on match point, because I lost a few good matches from the match point last year and this year already,” she said afterwards. “For me, it was important. This match was very important for me. I was three matches from match point against top 10 players, and today I beat No.1 in the world. So I think I am somewhere close.”
Kasatkina got the first break of the match, but after Kerber leveled things, the set would head into a tiebreaker. The Russian won the ensuing breaker and carried that momentum into the second set, snagging that set’s first break.
Kerber would get the set back on serve at 2-2, but Kasatkina stood tough to win the final four games and complete the upset.
In the quarterfinals, Kasatkina will take on Great Britain’s Johanna Konta, who was a 6-1, 6-3 winner over Daria Gavrilova in her second round match on Tuesday.
Caroline Wozniacki continued her hot start to 2017 with a 6-0, 7-5 triumph over Yulia Putintseva to advance to the final eight in Sydney. She will play Barbora Strycova next.
Second-seed Agnieszka Radwanska got a strong test from American and New Jersey-native Christina McHale, but the Pole advanced with a 7-6(1), 6-1 victory to reach the quarterfinals where she will be Ying-Ying Duan, who was a 6-3, 6-2 victor over American Coco Vandeweghe.
The other Sydney quarterfinal will see Eugenie Bouchard take on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.