Daria Kasatkina, No. 37 in the WTA ranking, opened with a win at the Mutua Madrid Open, beating Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(1) in 3 hours and 1 minute of play. “The year has started very well for me”, recognised Kasatkina. The Russian player arrived in Madrid after recently taking the spoils at the WTA 500 in Saint Petersburg, her second title of the season after winning the WTA 250 at Phillip Island in February. However, according to the 23-year-old player “it doesn’t matter what has happened in previous tournaments. The only thing that matters in the next match”.
In this, her fifth appearance at the Madrid WTA 1000, the 2018 quarter-finalist was not willing to talk about expectations for this year’s tournament. “Today I’m happy with my victory, but tomorrow will be another day to get back to training. The most important thing is not even the next match, it’s the next point I have to play”. In the last edition of the Madrid tournament, in 2019, Kasatkina bowed out in the first round, which is why the player herself stated that “there is no need to be self-destructive, because if you give your best, the results will come”.
Although this year’s Mutua Madrid Open will be a considerably different one, she was very grateful to the tournament. “The best courts in the world are here in Madrid, and although, unfortunately, we can’t visit the city, we’re going to give everything we’ve got”, said the Russian. Finally, fans are allowed to fill the courts, prompting Kasatkina to declare “every tournament with fans is a breath of fresh air. That’s what sport is about”. Likewise, the No. 37 in the WTA ranking commented that “whenever we can play with spectators it’s good for them and also for us”.
One player who will not be playing in this year’s tournament, but has been training in the Caja Mágica is Carla Suárez, “a great inspiration” to the Russian player. A few days ago, the Spaniard announced on social media that she had completed her treatment and overcome Hodgkin lymphoma, and Kasatkina dedicated a few words to her: “Everyone is happy to see her back. She has to take it step by step because she hasn’t played for a long time, but it will be very exciting to see her on the courts again”.