The line-up for the semifinals of WTA St. Petersburg 2019 is now complete. Veteran Vera Zvonareva is the sole Russian left in the singles draw. The former World No. 2 ousted fellow compatriot Daria Kasatkina in straight sets in the last eight to ensure the fairy tale run continued. Donna Vekic stunned the top seed and defending St Petersburg champion Petra Kvitova, while Aryna Sabalenka and Kiki Bertens were both victorious.
Here are the predictions of the two Saturday matches.
WTA St. Petersburg Semifinals Predictions
Aryna Sabalenka vs Kiki Bertens
These are the two highest seeded players remaining, and by looking at both players games, there could be some serious hitting from the back of the court. Bertens was able to solve the Pavlyuchenkova equation after losing her last two meetings against the Russian, most recently in the 2019 Australian Open. However her semifinal opponent is in imperious form. Aryna Sabalenka is looking to make her second final this year adding to her recent success in Shenzhen in the opening week. Bertens surprisingly leads the head-to-head 2-0, but it is worth pointing out one of the victories was on clay which is Berten’s favorite surface, and their only hard court meeting which was won by the Dutchwoman was two years ago in a Fed Cup tie. Sabalenka is a much improved player these days and should be the favorite here.
Prediciton: Sabalenka in 2
Donna Vekic vs Vera Zvonareva
This has been a fantastic start to the year by Vera Zvonareva. Ranked No.97 in the world at the age of 34, she has managed to reach her second semifinal this year and will hope for more luck this time after retiring injured in her previous semifinal in Shenzhen. This is the first time in six years she has managed to reach the top 100 and it’s her first semifinal in a Premier-level event since 2011. It is fair to say WTA has gone absolutely berserk in 2019!
Donna Vekic’s stunning win over Kvitova also guaranteed her passage to her second semifinal of 2019. The only worry for Zvonareva is her fitness. She was exhausted by the time her quarterfinal match headed into a tiebreak. I think she would have lost if it went to three. However, she showed tremendous agility and went for some difficult shots with the backhand winner on match point being a prime example. This is a very winnable match for Zvonareva who has already taken out Julia Goerges and Daria Kasatkina (5th and 3rd seeds respectively). The former World No.2 will also receive extra support from her home crowd and it almost feels like the script is written for her to win the St Petersburg title.
Prediction: Zvonareva in 2
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