The WTA St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy final will be between a fast-rising young star in Elena Rybakina and an established member of the top ten in Kiki Bertens. Whatever happens, it should be an excellent match and the home crowd will be entertained.
Elena Rybakina vs Kiki Bertens
Head-to-Head Record: Bertens 1-0 Rybakina
The Kazakh is going to get the bulk of the support in St. Petersburg but she may not need it. Rybakina’s appearance in this final is just the latest chapter in what is turning out to be a meteoric rise in the rankings. The confidence flowing through her at the moment must be a massive help in this final. Only a year ago Rybakina was ranked just inside the world’s top 200, she is now guaranteed a place in the top 20 whatever happens in the final.
Bertens is having a sneaky good start to the year. She has lost only twice in her ten matches and showed her skills in the semifinal against Alexandrova. She is much quicker around the court than many realise. This, combined with a powerful and effective serve, has made her an all-court threat on all surfaces.
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There is very little difference in their statistics in the build-up to this match. Rybakina has actually had a higher win percentage in the last twelve months (76% vs 70%). The Kazakh also edges the hold and break numbers on indoor hard courts. She has held serve in these conditions just over 75% of the time and breaks her opponents 35% of the time in the last year. Bertens is almost equally as impressive, but, perhaps surprisingly, she falls slightly behind Rybakina on serve. However, Bertens’ data includes her time at the WTA Finals, so the calibre of her opponents would have been higher than Rybakina’s.
It would be a surprise if this match wasn’t close and didn’t go to three sets. I just give the advantage to the Dutchwoman in this clash. She has defeated three Russians on her way to this final so will have no problem being the “villain” in the crowd. Bertens’ form has been very good and possibly slightly better than Rybakina’s. The Kazakh is the player on the up, with great momentum, but on the court, I think Bertens may just get enough balls back and be solid enough on serve to have the edge at the end.
Prediction: Bertens in 3
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