\My feature match on the fourth day at the Volvo Car Open in Charleston was the second match on the Volvo Car Stadium as defending champion and third seed Daria Kasatkina from Russia did battle with thirteenth seed Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania in the third round and ultimately it was Kasatkina who got the convincing 6-2, 6-1 win. It was a very mature performance from Kasatkina because, after a rocky opening set, she cut out the flare in her game and focused on just playing consistent tennis that would win her the match rather than put on a show for the crowd. This wasn’t a terrible performance from Begu as she was able to get some good returns in and she did not fall down easily but the game style Kasatkina was playing, which was to keep getting the next shot back, was one Begu was never going to stand up against.
The start of the match was the period that both women played their best tennis of the match in as Irina-Camelia Begu landed clean shots consistently while Daria Kasatkina was playing her fun brand of tennis with lots of variety. The second seed served well all throughout the match from the first game, which she raced through, and then she was showing off her defensive prowess to break for the early 2-0 lead. Begu was still fighting at that point as she put in an unplayable return game with some really breathtaking returns to break straight back. The breakaway for Kasatkina happened at this point as she broke to love after back to back Begu double faults and then brought her forehand out with clutch play to consolidate for 4-1. Begu held there in another duece game after we started to see some errors from Kasatkina but she shook them off quickly as she held comfortably after a couple of timely big serves followed by a big second strike. The final game of the set was underwhelming as neither woman played it well with a few backhand errors but it was Kasatkina who got that extra shot to break for the 6-2 set.
Rather surprisingly knowing how the set ended up in the end, it was a signpost start to the second set from Irina-Camelia Begu as she came out very focused and full of intent and played a great opening return game with a lot of good shots to break to love but she did not win a game after that. Daria Kasatkina had a lot to do with that as for the rest of the match she was not going for the big flashy shots immediately but instead, she was staying in the rally, redirecting the ball and waiting for her opportunity to have a measured strike or for a Begu error to come which helped her break straight back. These next couple of games were clearly frustrating for Begu because she was doing the right thing and targeting the Kasatkina backhand but the points kept going against her. Begu’s attitude changed from about 3-1 when her frustration seemed to reach a boiling point and she started to overpress. This meant that final three games went by very quickly with the abundance of errors and eventually Kasatkina allowed herself some flare with a drop shot on match point to finish the 6-2, 6-1 match.