The WTA St Petersburg Ladies Trophy has come to its conclusion. Daria Kasatkina will lift the trophy, but you have to feel for Margarita Gasparyan. The Russian played some of the best tennis of her career in the last week. She blitzed backhand winners in every round to book her place in the final. Then, when it mattered most, her body refused to cooperate. The Russian took a medical time out at 4-1 down in the first set and was never the same afterwards.
Clearly hampered by what appeared to be tightness in her lower back, Gasparyan resorted to stand and deliver tennis. When that failed her and she went down a break in the second set, she conceded defeat and retired. While she hit a few too many errors early in the match, her clean ball striking looked like it was going to cause Kasatkina problems until the injury.
What could have been a blockbuster match was rather disappointing in the end. However, nothing should be taken away from Daria Kasatkina. The Russian played superb tennis to make it to the final in St Petersburg. This is her second title this year, and the Russian looks to be back in the form that saw her reach the top ten a couple of years ago.
This week alone she came through tough tests against Kudermetova, Kuznetsova, Sasnovich, and Tauson. In Kuznetsova she overcame a counterpuncher of the highest quality. Her other three victories came against aggresive baseline players, none of whom could find away through the RUssian’s defenses.
Each is a quality opponent and Kasatkina was often the underdog to pick up the win. Win she did nonetheless, and with a combination of tennis IQ, counterpunching and well timed aggression, she is the 2021 WTA St Petersburg Ladies Trophy Champion. The win gives her a second title in the space of a month.
Kasatkina is still not playing at her absolute best. The fact that she is figuring out how to win matches anyway boads well for her. She could well add more trophies to her tally this year. Whether she does or not, it is great to see a player of her talent back amongst the winners on the tour where she belongs.
Main Photo from Getty.