Indian Wells: Halep overwhelmed by Osaka, fails to reach final
Two 20-year-olds will contest the first Premier Mandatory final of the 2018 season on Sunday, after unseeded Naomi Osaka followed No.20 seed Daria Kasatkina into the final of the BNP Paribas Open with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over World No.1 Simona Halep on Friday night.
In her third career match against a reigning World No.1, and second against the Romanian while she’s occupied the top spot this year, Osaka scored her fourth career victory over a Top 10 player and second this week, wtatennis.com informs.
The World No.44 enjoyed a contrasting passage from Kasatkina, who toiled for nearly three hours and came from a set down to oust No.8 seed Venus Williams, into the biggest final of her career with a statement 63-minute victory.
By landing only 56 percent of her first serves overall, Halep was forced on the back foot by aggressive returns from Osaka’s side of the court for the duration of the match.
The 20-year-old won 13 of the 18 points played on the three-time Grand Slam finalist’s second delivery in the match, and won 56 percent of points in her return games overall.
The Japanese No.1 will play for a trophy for the first time in nearly 18 months when she takes the court against Kasatkina: her first career final came at Premier-level in the fall of 2016, where she fell to Caroline Wozniacki on home soil at the Toray Pan Pacific Open.
Halep will collect a cheque of USD 327,965 and 390 WTA points.