Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: WTA Tour 2021: St Petersburg Ladies Trophy

WTA Tour 2021: St Petersburg Ladies Trophy

We take a look at the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy Selected Round of 16 Matches between Kamilla Rakhimova and Veronika Kudermetova as well as Svetlana Kuznetsova against Jaqueline Cristian.

Photo Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

WTA Tour 2021
WTA Premier Tournament
St Petersburg Ladies Trophy
Sibur Arena, Dynamo Tennis Club (Indoor Hardcourt)
Selected Round of 16 and Quarterfinal Matches- 18th, 19th March

Kamilla Rakhimova (33/10) vs Veronika Kudermetova (2) (21/100)

With the likes of Andrey Rublev and Danil Medvedev, Russian men’s tennis is experiencing a real renaissance.  By the same token, the women’s game in Russia is at a slight crossroads, with many young players waiting to emerge.  23-year-old Veronika Kudermetova is almost one of the more established players.  The hard-hitting baseliner started 2021 in exceptional style, making it to the final of the Abu Dhabi Open.  But since her 3rd round defeat at the Aussie Open, her form has really plummeted.  She is 1-4 in her last five matches.  She still however boasts a 9-6 year-to-date win-loss record.  Now playing a 19-year-old qualifier, Kudermetova has the chance to shake off some of those recent results and ease into a fairly brisk quarterfinal (she enjoyed a bye in her opening match).  She has one of the biggest serves on tour and will look to pummel Rakhimova into submission. 

At least Rakhimova finally picked up a win.  The 19-year-old has really struggled to break through on tour this year.  In fact, prior to this event, she hadn’t won a main draw match in five events (that included three failures to even qualify for the main draw).  Luckily for the Russian, she was drawn to play 403 ranked Daria Mishina in the first round here.  Even that proved treacherous for the Russian, who only manged to sneak by in three nervy sets.  It was slightly disturbing how frail she became in the 2nd set at the slightest hint of a Mishina fightback.  I suppose it probably felt like history was merely repeating itself.  Things are only going to get way tougher for the 150th ranked Rakhimova.

This will be the first meeting between these two compatriots.  I could try and get crafty and offer some value-laden alternative.  But simply put: Kudermetova is going to win this game.  I just can’t see anything else than a straight sets victory for the 23-year-old, particularly after how Rakhimova laboured against Mishina.  Straight sets at 54/100.

Svetlana Kuznetsova (4) vs Jaqueline Cristian

Number 4 seed and former US Open Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova has advanced to her first WTA quarterfinal 12 months.  She followed a pair of titanic three-setters on Sibur Arena with a fairly routine victory over Chinese qualifier Wang Xinyu.  The former World Number 2 was hugely derailed by the Covid lockdown and has only recently started to regain some momentum, stunning top seed Elina Svitolina at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.  35-year-old Kuznetsova is clearly hoping to replicate the efforts of Victoria Azarenka in reigniting her career.

Her quarterfinal opponent was sealed late in the day, with the relatively unheralded Jaqueline Cristian overcoming Jelena Ostapenko is a fairly gruelling two-set affair.  Cristian certainly has some ability.  She had a match-point against then-reigning Aussie Open Champion Sofia Kenin in Lyon last year.  She will be thrilled to have reached her first WTA Quarterfinal (she did reach the final of the ITF event in Boutheon).  Cristian has been extremely aggressive thus far, blasting 27 winners in his opening round match against Vera Lapko.  That win over former French Open Champion Jelena Ostapenko will only help embolden her.  Can she possibly make it two consecutive victories against former Grand Slam Champions?  She has also extended her indoor-hardcourt record for 2021 to 8-2.

This will unsurprisingly be the first meeting between these two.  I think this could be the time to play it more daring.  Cristian’s near-victory over Kenin gives me room for optimism.  Add a straight sets victory over Ostapenko and you have upset material written all over this match.

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