Photo : Sarah-Jade Champagne
Guarantees are a rarity in sport, but one thing was assured on Saturday in Granby: a woman named Daria would lift the trophy. The only question was which one.
The answer was Daria Kasatkina, the top seed at the National Bank Championships, who defeated Daria Saville in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 to win the title.
Her victory in Granby is Kasatkina’s second in August, having won the title in San Jose at the beginning of the month, and her sixth overall on the WTA Tour.
Kasatkina hardly sailed through the final, having her serve broken four times including when she served for both sets. However, the top seed never trailed in the match as she broke Saville six times and won 51 per cent of her the Australian’s service points.
Just like her semifinal win, Kasatkina leaned on her strong returning to carry her through the first set as she broken in each of Saville’s first two service games, which made up for her dropping one of her own.
It was called on again late in the set when the top seed failed to serve the set out at 5-3. Saville cracked under the pressure as she served to stay alive at 4-5. The Aussie played a sloppy game which included a double fault at deuce and hit a wild forehand on set point to allow Kasatkina to take the opener.
The second set followed a similar script, with the top seed breaking early but struggling to get over the finish line. Up 4-2, Kasatkina was broken back but Saville was unable to consolidate. The top seed then failed to serve out the set just like she did in the first, allowing the Aussie to get back on serve.
A dramatic tenth and final game saw Saville hand her opponent two match points with consecutive double faults, only to save both. Two more championship points came and went for Kasatkina before, at the fifth time of asking, got over the finish line when Saville mishandled a lob at the end of a long rally, allowing it to land just inside the baseline before flubbing a shot into the doubles alley.
After dropping the first set of her first-round match in a tiebreak against Greet Minnen, Kasatkina did not lose another set in the tournament.
Kasatkina now heads to the US Open, where she will be the 10th seed. With the win in Granby, she moves up to No. 9 in the world, matching her career-high ranking.