Danielle Dominates  - 

Seven years and a brand new stadium later, Daria Kasatkina back to a familiar spot – the Credit One Charleston Open final.

The tournament’s No. 4 seed – and the champion in 2017 – outlasted the No. 1 seed Jessica Pegula 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) in a tense affair that saw a combined 16 breaks of serve and no shortage of thrilling points in front of a packed Credit One Stadium crowd on semifinal Saturday.

“It’s been a while,” said Kasatkina after the match on her triumph here seven years ago. “But it seems like it was yesterday – I’m really happy to be in the finals again; it’s a really special place.”

And how did she get it done after two hours and 43 minutes of all-court tennis? “I dunno,” said the likeable 26 year old, exasperated. “I’m very proud of myself. It was a very tough match, it was a bit of a roller coaster today.”

Credit One Charleston Open, Credit One Stadium

And a roller-coaster match it was.

The first set was played largely on even terms as both players took time to adjust not only to their opponents but the weather. On another breezy afternoon in Charleston, the two exchanged breaks in the first two games of the match, feeling out the tricky conditions with mixes of spin and pace until settling into play.

Pegula was the first to surge ahead in the seventh game for 4-2, but Kasatkina, the 2017 champion in Charleston, was able to reel her back in, puzzling the American No. 1 with the placement of her ball rather than the pace of it and mastering the mix of clay-court tennis & windy conditions. On her fourth set point, Kasatkina claimed the opener after 49 minutes.

It was a similar tale in the second set, with the Pegula jumping out several leads and Kasatkina recovering in the next game with a break right back. A marathon ninth game saw several set points come and go for the No.1 seeded American, and she was once again unable to consolidate her break lead as Kasatkina’s tenacity earned her the game after eight deuces. It ultimately wouldn’t matter though, as a fourth consecutive break of the Russian’s serve handed Pegula the set, sending the day’s first semifinal into a decider.

Credit One Charleston Open, Credit One Stadium

The seesaw battle continued in the third with further breaks of serve leaving an entranced Charleston Open crowd fully uncertain of the outcome. Despite a mid-set medical timeout for a hamstring issue, Kasatkina’s resolve never wavered as she continued to weave her web of neutralizing rally balls to throw off Pegula’s rhythm.

Playing in her third consecutive third-set tiebreak, the American’s luck ultimately ran out, as an ill-calculated approach to the Kasatkina forehand saw an angled passing shot winner – Kasatkina’s 39th of the match – run right by her, sending the World No. 11 into her third final on Charleston’s green clay.

She’ll face the winner of Saturday’s second semifinal between the in-form Danielle Collins and No. 3 seed Maria Sakkari.

2024 Charleston Open Daria Kasatkina Jessica Pegula
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