Moscow River Cup: Tamara Zidansek upsets home favorite Daria Kasatkina to progress to quarterfinals

World No.90 Tamara Zidansek registered the biggest win of her embryonic tennis career with a battling display of unrelenting and nerveless tennis to edge second seed Daria Kasatkina 6-4 2-6 6-4, and booked the last remaining spot in the quarter finals of Moscow River Cup. It will be a first quarter final appearance for the 20-year-old Slovenian in WTA tour level event.

The little known Zidansek, who is only seven months younger than her Russian counterpart but vastly behind in career success at the elite level, was decisive during the key moments in the match and took full advantage of Kasatkina’s whopping 10 double faults to secure her victory seven minutes shy of two hours.

Both players struggled for consistency in the opening set which included seven service breaks, the last of which proved damaging for the Russian. But Kasatkina responded emphatically in front of a small pocket of home support when she surged into a 4-0 lead in the second set. She posted great numbers on her serve and her deep spinning forehand shots had the Slovenian sprawling, eventually closing out the set 6-2.

After trading breaks early in the third set, Kasatkina made the first big move when she went 4-3 up with a break of serve, but that was not the end of it. Zidansek won three straight games culminating in Kasatkina planting a forehand into the net on matchpoint. She raised her arms aloft and celebrated an incredibly brilliant victory over a top 20 player and quarter final meeting with Germany’s Laura Siegemund who easily dismissed Ukraine’s Kateryna Kozlova for the loss of three games.

Zidansek, who pushed Mihaela Buzarnescu to the limit in spite of her straight sets loss last week in Bucharest, will surely attract a lot of attention in the next few months. Having garnered 16 titles in the ITF circuit, she made a career breakthrough with her first title win at WTA 125K event at Croatia Bol Open (which is the equivalent of men’s challenger tour). With this hard fought win over the 13th ranked player in the world, Tamara Zidansek is a very promising prospect.

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