by IANS |
Adelaide, Jan 2 (IANS) Czech teenager Linda Noskova has claimed her maiden top-10 victim, steadying the ship to secure a first-round upset of Daria Kasatkina at the Adelaide International on Monday.
The 18-year-old, in just her fifth tour-level main draw, backed up two qualifying wins with a 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-3 defeat of the third seed, reports adelaideinternational.com.au.
Having climbed as high as world No.87 as recently as August, Noskova was intent on building on a breakout 2022, in which she qualified for her first two grand slam main draws at Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows and notched a tour-level semifinal on home soil in Prague.
"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."
At the US Open last year, Noskova teamed with compatriot Lucie Hradecka to defeat Venus and Serena Williams in what was likely the 14-time Grand Slam doubles champions' last match together.
"The Prague Open was a really successful tournament for me but as a tournament experience I would say US Open for sure," Noskova said of her 2022 highlights.
"I qualified, played first match, which was good as well, and then the doubles."
In an opening set that featured five breaks in Adelaide it was the heavier-striking world No.102 who came through when it mattered.
A hefty first serve drew the return error and the Czech, fist clenched, strode to the chair with the set in the bag after 46 minutes.
Momentum proved more elusive in a tight second set as twice Kasatkina was forced to scrap her way back from a break down.
While she failed to capitalise on two set points, last year's Roland Garros semifinalist was not ready to cast her sights east to Melbourne just yet.
The world No.8, having collected hard-court trophies in San Jose and Granby last year, broke as Noskova served for the match and looked to have wrested control when she forced a decider.
It was not to be as a lower-back niggle required treatment and a red-hot opponent ended her stay after two hours and 31 minutes.
Noskova awaits the winner of Australian Priscilla Hon and American qualifier Claire Liu.