WTA 2018: St Petersburg Ladies Trophy Semi-Finals Preview

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Our tennis writer previews the WTA 2018 semi-finals, which takes place on Saturday the 3rd of February 2018. 
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Premium Level | St Petersburg Ladies Trophy | 3 February 2018 | St Petersburg, Russia

Julia Goerges (GER) (11/10)
vs Petra Kvitova (CZE) (13/20)

Kvitova’s absolute trouncing of French Open Champion Jelena Ostapenko was a statement of intent from the former two-time Wimbledon champion. Her chances of progressing to the final here would seem to be boosted by the fact that she leads Julia Goerges 2-1 in their head to head meetings.  Having said all that, their last meeting was way back in 2013. That oddity is perhaps reflective of Kvitova’s turbulence with injury.

Goerges has experienced an Indian Summer in her career that culminated in a career-high ranking of 12th in the world last year. Goerges has form on her side, already victorious over Wozniacki in the Auckland final, coming off the back of that WTA Elite title victory at the back end of last season.

Petra Kvitova has had an erratic start to the season, losing to Andrea Petkovic in the opening round at the Aussie Open. But victories here over both Elena Vesnina and Ostapenko point towards a resurgence of her best form. She reached the semi-finals in Beijing before losing to Carolina Garcia, and it seems as if the big-serving Czech is picking up momentum at the right time. 

Goerges was excellent in quelling the fire of teenage sensation Elena Rybakina in the quarters, but I just think Kvitova has the big court game to overcome her. She represents great value at 13/20 after that dominant display in the quarters, particularly against a player with so much tennis under her belt.

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Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 11/10
vs Daria Kasatkina (RUS) 13/20

Kristina Mladenovic has emphatically stopped what was becoming a rather unsightly losing run. And I suppose on one level it should come as no surprise: she is the defending champion here and seems to thrive on these fast hardcourts. Her victory over Katerina Siniakova was the epitome of efficiency, even managing to break back immediately in the 2nd set to quash any signs of a comeback.

Daria Kasatkina pulled off the ‘upset’ of the tournament in ousting Aussie Open Champion Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets. Having said that, Wozniacki did seem to be running on fumes and a shock exit was always on the cards. These two have only played once before, with the French defending champion coming out on top was back at Flushing Meadows in 2015.

Kasatkina beat embattled Alice Cornet en route to the semis. She made the final in Moscow in 2017, beating both Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Katerina Siniakova en route to the final. She had a disappointing Aussie Open 2nd Round defeat to Magda Linette but nothing compares to the form that Mladenovic brought into the tournament. 

She was knocked out of the first round in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. She seemed to physically be struggling in the occasionally oppressive weather conditions down under.  I think that the French Woman will have too much power for the Russian and will be buoyed by a much-needed injection of results into her game. 11/10 doesn’t seem bad for a defending champion who just won in straight sets.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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