The Russian promise Daria Kasatkina gave the umpteenth surprise in Indian Wells by beating Venus Williams in the semifinals and will face in the final the Japanese Naomi Osaka, who did the same before the number 1 in the world, the Romanian Simona Halep. «Today I was not ready and I played badly. It was better than me, definitely. My head was not ready. I was not focused, “Halep said after the crash.

Kasatkina, the 20th seed, had already eliminated the German Angelique Kerber (N.10), number 1 world, the number 2, the Danish Caroline Wozniacki, and the American Sloane Stephens (N.13). And this Friday also ended with Venus (N.8), who at 37 years old could not with the biggest push of his rival, 17 years younger, and fell by 6-4, 4-6, 5-7 in the best match of the tournament after two hours and 48 minutes of play.

“It’s one of the best nights of my life, for sure. It has been very exciting, “commented the Russian at a press conference.

On Sunday, Kasatkina will face Osaka, who went over Halep in straight sets of 6-3, 6-0 in just 63 minutes.

In an identical route to that of the Russian, the Japanese had to fight since the beginning of the championship with players of more poster than her but he was surpassing them all. With firm step. One by one: in the first round she beat Maria Sharapova, in second place the Polish Agnieszka Radwanska (N.31) and in the quarterfinals the Czech Karolina Pliskova (N.5).

Against all odds, two “outsiders” who already look into the eyes of the world tennis scepter directly and without the complex of age.

“I feel like it’s going to be really interesting because it plays completely different from me. I think it’s going to be fun, “Osaka said of the final. The Russian made clear from the beginning that she was going with everything to win. And in the first game, naturally, he broke service to Venus. Williams paid for it with the same coin. 1-1, two ruptures and everything the same. The European did the same, again, and then went 3-1 in favor.

But the American explained how things worked at home with a partial 5-1 to end up winning the first set 6-4.

In the central court of Indian Wells, with the cold of the desert as an exceptional guest, the Russian showed that she is much more mature than her age indicates. He did not break down at any time and reaffirmed himself immediately after breaking his serve again. “There is a match,” he seemed to say to the thousands present in the stands of the central court.

So until the sixth, with “break” for Venus and “contrabreak” for Kasatkina, who was planted in the eighth with a mission: to strike on the table. And he did it, even though it cost him an eternity and he had to save several break balls from his rival.

Venus, exhausted, saw impotent how the Russian constantly shaking her on the track, with long exchanges of blows and the continuous search of his backhand. The American woman, arms in hand, looked for the air that was missing while the European ran from one side to another in search of more. One fed on oxygen, the other on adrenaline.

The third set was another bitter battle between the present and the past of tennis against the future of this sport.

And he won the future, after a lot of sweating and a lot of fighting. Because Venus was like those fighters capable of destroying her opponent in one fell swoop but the Russian moved like a butterfly and stung like a bee.

“Anyone who gets used to losing should give up in life,” said angry Venus at a press conference.

Williams had been knocked out after almost three hours while Kasatkina and Osaka, at 20, will demonstrate on Sunday that the future is already here.

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