WTA St. Petersburg Final Preview and Prediction: Donna Vekic vs Kiki Bertens

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Head-to-head: Donna Vekic 3-1 Kiki Bertens

Last meeting: 2019 WTA Brisbane R16 (Vekic won 7-6 1-6 7-5)

The final of the WTA St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy will be contested between Kiki Bertens and Donna Vekic, who have both registered commanding performances throughout the week.

Vekic delivered the biggest upset of the tournament when she knocked out the defending St. Petersburg champion and 2019 Australian Open finalist Petra Kvitova in the quarterfinal with a terrific straight sets victory. That was the Croatian’s biggest win ranking-wise and she continued her excellent run by taking out home favorite Vera Zvonareva who had a week to remember. The 8th seeded Vekic will play in her first Premier-level final of her young career and is finally living up to her teenage promise after taking longer than expected to find her feet. Vekic had announced herself to the tennis world with an epic win over Dominika Cibulkova in the Malaysian Open final in 2014 at the age of 17. But though she went on to win one more title after, it has taken the best part of five years for her to cement herself as consistent performer on the WTA circuit. Last year, however, she managed to break the top 50 and has continued her remarkable rise in the rankings in 2019.

Kiki Bertens, who will be on the opposite side of the net, arrives in the final off the back of a career-best season in 2018. She won titles in Charleston and Cincinnati (saving a match point to beat Halep), and finished as runner-up in Madrid in 2018. That excellent form propelled her into the WTA top 10 for the first time last year, and she has started 2019 with a bang. The Dutchwoman is usually regarded as a clay-courter, but her recent strong performances on the hard courts show she is a player for all surfaces, as evidenced by her brilliant win over Halep in the Western and Southern Open last year.

Who will win the 2019 WTA St. Petersburg title?

This could well be a long three setter. Whilst, Donna Vekic always likes to do things the hard way, both players have had a solid week. Vekic knocked out an in-form Petra Kvitova while Bertens beat fourth seed Sabalenka in straight sets in the semis. It is great to see players like Vekic who do not possess enormous amount of power continue to prove that it is not just strong hitting can bring success. But she does have a peculiar forehand which makes you wonder if she can even hit a winner. Bertens is undoubtedly the more accomplished player of the two with more titles and big match experience. But the real surprise is that the Dutchwoman trails in head-to-head against the Croat 3-1, including a defeat recently in Brisbane. The second seed should start as a slight favorite in this one, but expect Vekic to continue her good record in their head-to-head.

Prediction: Vekic in 3.

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