WTA St Petersburg Ladies Trophy Day 3 Predictions Including Belinda Bencic vs Svetlana Kuznetsova

Elena Rybakina at the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy

After a thrilling start to the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy, the action is set to continue on day three with a number of star names joining the fray, including the top seed. But who will advance and who will fall to defeat in Russia’s second city?

St Petersburg Ladies Trophy Day 3 Predictions

Alize Cornet vs Jelena Ostapenko

Head-to-head: Cornet 1-1 Ostapenko

Jelena Ostapenko remains inconsistent, but the 2017 French Open champion is a formidable opponent when she is at her best, with some of the most powerful, if not always the most accurate, groundstrokes on the WTA Tour. At the Australian Open, she put in a creditable showing, beating Ludmilla Samsonova comfortably in the first round before losing 5-7 5-7 to sixth seed Belinda Bencic in the round of 64. If she can play at that level again in St Petersburg, she could well do damage.

But she faces a tough first-round assignment in Alize Cornet. The Frenchwoman is also not one of the WTA’s more consistent performers, but she was in good touch in the qualifying, beating the Russians Valentina Ivakhnenko and Vera Zvonareva to reach the main draw. However, the indoor conditions at the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy should favour the bigger-hitter and that is Ostapenko. Expect her to edge a tight contest.

Prediction: Ostapenko in 3
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Ajla Tomljanovic vs Anastasia Potapova

Head-to-head: first meeting

Both Ajla Tomljanovic and Anastasia Potapova impressed in their first-round wins. Tomljanovic upset fifth seed Marketa Vondrousova, coming from a set down to beat the Czech in three, whilst the teenager Potapova dismissed her compatriot Samsonova 6-2 6-4, after coming through the qualifying, where she also did not drop a set. She is clearly in fine form then, but Tomljanovic represents a real step up in the quality of her opposition. The Australian is significantly more experienced and has no real weaknesses for Potapova to exploit. Potapova will have the backing of the crowd, but expect Tomljanovic to prove too strong.

Prediction: Tomljanovic in 2
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Johanna Konta vs Oceane Dodin

Head-to-head: Konta 1-0 Dodin

On paper, Johanna Konta should be the heavy favourite coming into this match. The Briton enjoyed a fine 2019 campaign, highlighted by a run to the French Open semifinals and a second quarterfinal showing at Wimbledon. But injury derailed the latter stages of last season for Konta and she was clearly not back to full match fitness at the Australian Open, where she suffered a swift first-round defeat at the hands of Ons Jabeur, winning just six games.

Nor indeed should Oceane Dodin be underestimated. The Frenchwoman has played some excellent tennis in St Petersburg, coming through the qualifying to reach the second round without dropping a set. That is a feat made all the more impressive by the fact every player she has beaten has been ranked above her. Konta did win their only previous meeting, which came in 2015, comfortably, but unless something has changed significantly since the Australian Open, and there is currently no evidence to suggest that it has, this looks like the perfect opportunity for Dodin to avenge that defeat.

Prediction: Dodin in 3
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Belinda Bencic vs Svetlana Kuznetsova

Head-to-head: Bencic 2-1 Kuznetsova

Svetlana Kuznetsova may no longer be at the peak of her powers, but she has proven so far in 2020 that she is still a force to be reckoned with. At the Australian Open, she upset Roland Garros finalist Vondrousova in the first round and she has backed that up at the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy with a comprehensive first-round win over Jennifer Brady. That victory has earned her a shot at the top seed and world #5 Belinda Bencic.

Which, in truth, looks like a tall order for the Russian. Kuznetsova remains an excellent competitor, but Bencic is a top five player for a reason, although she does arrive in St Petersburg on the back of a bruising 0-6 1-6 defeat to Anett Kontaveit in the third round at the Australian Open. However, that humbling should give her plenty of motivation to put things right in St Petersburg against a player she will know will demand some of her best tennis. If she delivers that, should be able to reach the third round unscathed.

Prediction: Bencic in 3
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Fiona Ferro vs Elena Rybakina

Head-to-head: first meeting

Fiona Ferro became the latest lucky loser to take full advantage of her good fortune, beating her compatriot Caroline Garcia to reach the second round at the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy, after losing to Oceane Dodin in the final round of qualifying. But she is set to face a stern test there in the shape of eighth seed Elena Rybakina, who has made an impressive start to the season. In her first two tournaments of the year, the Kazakh reached the final in Shenzhen, before winning the Hobart International.

She then reached the third round at the Australian Open, although she was well-beaten there by world #1 Ashleigh Barty, and in the first round in St Petersburg she proved too good for Katerina Siniakova. The ease with which she negotiated that potentially testing encounter with the Czech surely bodes well her for chances in this match. Ferro did play well to beat Garcia, but she is still more at home on the clay and this seems like a match too far.

Prediction: Rybakina in 2

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