Published: Mon, March 19, 2018
Sports | By Jonathan Ford

Venus and Halep knocked out at Indian Wells

Venus and Halep knocked out at Indian Wells

Naomi Osaka from Japan captured Sunday her first career title, the 2018 BNP Paribas Open women's singles champion, with a commanding 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Daria Kasatkina of Russian Federation.

Youth prevailed on Friday night after unseeded Naomi Osaka and world No. 19 Daria Kasatkina of Russian Federation, both 20, reached the final at the expense of world No. 1 Simona Halep and Venus Williams. "I just fought and that's maybe why I won because I refuse to lose", Halep said.

Naomi Osaka from Japan in action during her semi-final match against Simona Halep from Romania at the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 16 March 2018 (issued 17 March 2018).

But gradually, Osaka upped her level and the depth and the power of her ball striking, and Kasatkina, perhaps still carrying the efforts of that three-setter against Williams-plus an intense season running into Indian Wells-was slightly off the pace.

"You kind of hope for this kind of scoreline, but you never know if you're actually going to get it", Williams said.

Osaka has impressed a lot this week with her mental fortitude throughout the tournament, but admitted that she had to keep a calm façade.

Williams, who was winning matches in Indian Wells before Kasatkina was even born, has enjoyed a longevity in tennis that is rarely achieved.

It was an unexpected showpiece with 20-year-old Kasatkina having beaten Venus Williams in her semi-final. And that emboldened Osaka, who pulled of a smash victor and then a big forehand to break in fifth game, and backed it up with a love hold.

Kasatkina was surprisingly putting in a lackluster performance and she was slow in her movement, with Osaka exploiting that aspect with her powerful play. "That's pretty much all - I mean, I have to stop making that many errors against her". Halep said her early struggles in the final set were from nerves and frustration with the playing conditions.

Naomi Osaka seeks her first career WTA singles title. I've been driving the Osaka bandwagon the last couple of years, but couldn't bring myself to pick her over Halep. Osaka, who looked focused and cold throughout an impressive campaign, showed her first real sign of brief scare when they shot the coriander before lifting up the trophy.

She called her coach to come down from the stands for advice at one point but couldn't remember after the match what he told her.

Up 5-2, Osaka closed out the match with a backhand victor. She's hitting hard. She has a good serve.

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