Daria Kasatkina, 24, thinks she is having her best start to the season. Kasatkina, ranked at No. 26 in the world, upset No. 2 seed Garbine Muguruza 6-4 6-4 to reach the Sydney semifinal. En route to making the Sydney semifinal, Kasatkina also beat Sofia Kenin and Elise Mertens.
Kasatkina also enjoyed a strong run at last week's Melbourne Summer Set 2 as she made the semifinal before losing to eventual champion Amanda Anisimova. "I think this is the best start of my career ever," Kasatkina said after beating Muguruza, as quoted on the WTA website.
"I think I never start the season that well. To win always feels amazing. Doesn't matter if you are winning the matches right before a slam and you maybe feel you're tired - it doesn't matter, because better you win the matches than you lose first round, and then you go and you have one week to practice, but for what? You have been practicing the whole preseason.
"So the most important is the confidence, and you get it by winning matches. This is the most important, because at the end, OK, tiredness can affect of course, but the most important is to feel confidence while you're playing."
Kasatkina claimed a shock win over Muguruza
Kasatkina claimed the first break of the match in the fifth game, before routinely serving out for the opener in the 10th game. Muguruza twice recovered from a break down in the second set but Kasatkina claimed her third break of the set in the fifth set, before serving out for the match in the 10th game.
Kasatkina plays next a familiar face, Paula Badosa. The two last played in the fourth round of the 2013 U16 European Junior Championships in Moscow. "It's always nice to have these kind of stories where you start playing some Tennis Europe tournaments and U12 together," said Kasatkina. "And out of nowhere, you're playing semifinals in the big tournaments against each other."