Czech teen upsets Russian 8th-seed

ADELAIDE, Australia — Czech teenager Linda Noskova has produced one of the first major shocks of the 2023 season, beating eighth-ranked Russian Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-3 Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in the opening round of the Adelaide International.

The 102-ranked 18-year-old came through a tough qualifying draw in which she beat world No. 58 Anna Kalinskaya and No. 43 Anastasia Potapova before achieving the biggest win of her career over third-seeded Kastkina.

Noskova was playing in only her fifth main draw on the WTA Tour and had never previously played, let alone beaten, a top-10 player. She had been 0-2 against top-20 opponents.

Her best win before Monday had been over 38-ranked Alize Cornet in the second round en route to the semifinals in Prague.

Noskova took the first set comfortably in 46 minutes and broke to lead 4-3 in the second before Kasatkina broke back. She served for the match at 6-5 in but Kasatkina again fought back to take the set in a tiebreaker.

But the Czech revived to win the deciding set and the match in just over 2-1/2 hours, finishing with a sweeping cross-court forehand on match point. She broke Kasatkina’s serve eight times overall, hit 57 winners off the ground and won 21 of the 24 points when she came to net.

Kasatkina had a tumultuous 2022 season during which she broke back into the top 10. She also came out as gay and openly denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Noskova reached a ranking high of 87 in 2022 and qualified for the main draws at the French and US Opens.

“It’s been a lot of ups and downs but I think it was a really good season,” Noskova said. “I started around 300, I think, and then around 100 now, so it’s a pretty good progress. Obviously I need to pick it up a little bit to get back into the (top) 100 but hopefully I’m going to achieve it this year.”

Noskova now will face the winner of the match between Australia’s Priscilla Hon and American qualifier Claire Liu. (AP)