Russian ninth seed Daria Kasatkina produced an early candidate for shot of the tournament during a classy 6-3 6-4 defeat of former runner-up Marketa Vondrousova to sweep into the third round of the French Open on Wednesday.
Kasatkina was coming under pressure from the left-handed Czech at 2-3 down in the second set and 30-30 and looked about to go break point down as she chased back to retrieve a superb lob volley by Vondrousova.
But the 26-year-old conjured a magical between the legs shot that flashed by a stunned opponent who had advanced to the net.
She duly held serve with a forehand winner but Vondrousova, who reached the final in 2019 when she lost to Ash Barty, stuck to her task and had a point to lead 5-3 before Kasatkina hit back to reel off the last three games.
Kasatkina lost to Iga Swiatek in the semi-finals at Roland Garros last year and remains one of the most inventive players on the women’s circuit and is gearing up for another deep run.
Asked on court about her ‘tweener’ Kasatkina said it was nothing to do with luck.
“When I was a kid I was at home practising this shot against the wall, hitting the wall, lobbing myself and playing the tweener all the time,” she said.
“Maybe two hours a day, so it’s not luck. I practised this shot a lot and finally it paid off.”
Kasatkina will play 69th-ranked American Peyton Stearns in the next round.
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