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21 March 2018, 08:00 | Stacy Ballard
Indian Wells 2018: Naomi Osaka wins first title in style against Daria Kasatkina
Japan's tennis star Naomi Osaka/ lunionsuite.comINDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA - Naomi Osaka booked her place in the BNP Paribas Open final in emphatic fashion Friday night, powering past world No. 1 Simona Halep 6-3, 6-0 in the semis. Her world ranking is expected to climb from No. 44 to No. 22 on Monday.
Osaka needed just 70 minutes to dispatch No. 19 Kasatkina, who had an equally impressive showing in the desert. She looked deflated compared to her other inspired performances throughout the fortnight against the likes of Venus, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki and Sloane Stephens.
Kasatkina broke in the opening game of the match after successive forehand errors from Osaka, but a fine forehand victor in the next game put the match back on serve.
She was broken to open the second set and again in the fifth game, giving Osaka a 4-1 lead on her forehand victor down the line. Osaka won the championship matchup in two sets: 6-3, 6-2.
"I can not believe I won this tournament, beating Roger in a great final and level of tennis", said Del Potro, who almost quit the sport after four wrist surgeries in recent years.
She has plenty of years ahead of her to improve her delivery as much as she already has improved her game.
Taking on Daria Kasatkina in the finals at Indian Wells, Naomi Osaka and her opponent made it sure that we would witness a new name in the winner's circle.
"I beat very good players, and in the right moments I was doing the right decisions, so it means I'm growing as a player, " Kasatkina said. "It's a new feeling for me to be this consistent, so I'm just trying to be happy about that". Osaka gained the only other break of the first set with a backhand victor on the sideline to go up 5-3.
The 20-year-old is the youngest champion at Indian Wells since Ana Ivanovic in 2008.
"In the beginning of the year, I just wanted to play every match really well", she said. But, if Osaka is able to get on top of the Kasatkina slice early on it could well be decisive.
Both players are 20-years-old.
"Hi, I'm Naomi, '" she started Sunday's, quickly adding "OK, never mind". It seems unlikely: the only sign of her nerves and lack of experience surfaced as she lifted the heavy BNP Paribas Open trophy. "That was pretty embarrassing".
Del Potro became the first Argentine victor in the 42-year history of the desert tournament.
"I don't think so", she said with a grin.
Osaka had a tough draw on paper, but only lost one set (to Maria Sakkari in the fourth round) en route to the title.
Juan Martin del Potro keeps surprising himself.
Del Potro recovered to deuce with a forehand victor.
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