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Bertens vs Pavlyuchenkova WTA St. Petersburg live streaming, preview and tips - Pavlyuchenkova targets repeat of Australian Open win over Bertens

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 1 Feb 2019
  • Kiki Bertens vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is live from St. Petersburg around 4.00pm local time on Friday (1.00pm GMT)
  • Pavlyuchenkova has won their previous two meetings
Kiki Bertens (Photo by PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images)

Second seed Kiki Bertens comes up against experienced local hope Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova as the pair square off for a place in the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy semi-finals on Friday.

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World No. 8 Kiki Bertens takes on Australian Open quarter-finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a place in the semi-finals of St. Petersburg on Friday - can the Dutchwoman avenge a three-set loss in the second round at Melbourne Park, or will the Russian reign supreme again?

Playing her first match since losing to Pavlyuchenkova at the Australian Open, Bertens bounced back strongly, cruising to a straight sets win over Belgian qualifier Ysaline Bonaventure in her first match in St. Petersburg on Thursday. Bertens was dominant on serve, firing 13 aces and winning 90 per cent of her first serve points as she completed a one-sided 6-4 6-2 victory in exactly one hour. The 27-year-old will be trying to make her second semi-final of 2019 after also advancing to the final four at the Sydney International, a result that followed a second round exit in Brisbane.

Bertens didn’t play badly in Australia, but given the year she had in 2018, she certainly would have wanted more than two second round eliminations in her three tournaments. Bertens once again shone on clay as she made rapid progress up the rankings last year, winning the title in Charleston and finishing runner-up at the Premier Mandatory Mutua Madrid Open, but it was her improvement on hardcourts and grass that ultimately propelled her into uncharted territory. The Dutchwoman beat Karolina Pliskova and Venus Williams to make the quarter-finals of Wimbledon and continued her fine form into the North American summer on hardcourt, defeating Petra Kvitova and Pliskova to make the quarter-finals of Montreal before taking out Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki and Elina Svitolina to advance into the Western & Southern Open final in Cincinnati, where she captured the biggest title of her career with a superb comeback win over World No. 1 Simona Halep.

Bertens went on to capture the hardcourt title in Seoul and qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals Singapore for the first time, toppling Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka to reach the semi-finals, before going down to eventual champion Elina Svitolina in three sets. Looking to maintain a spot in the top 10 throughout the season, it’s important Bertens gathers as many points as possible before she has to start defending the bulk of her ranking halfway through 2019. Can she add some more points by making the semi-finals on Thursday?

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Pavlyuchenkova will prove a tough challenge to overcome. The Russian is enjoying a nice resurgence to start the season, making her fifth Grand Slam quarter-final at the Australian Open with some big wins over the likes of Monica Puig, Bertens, Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Sloane Stephens - and she’s backed that run up by reaching another quarter-final here in St. Petersburg, taking out Alize Cornet and former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets. Pavlyuchenkova weathered an inconsistent storm from Ostapenko in the second round on Thursday, remaining the steadier of the pair as she emerged victorious 6-4 6-4 - and she credits a renewed love for the sport for her improved form to begin the season.


"I actually am enjoying being out there on the court -- we usually say that, but I really, truly enjoy it!" Pavlyuchenkova said. "After really good rallies, it makes me feel like it’s really good tennis I’m playing. I think it helps me as well to get some tough wins, because there I can fight and enjoy myself."

A winner of 12 WTA titles, a Grand Slam quarter-finalist on five occasions, a career-high ranking of No. 13 (achieved in 2011) and having conquered 30 top 10 players throughout the course of her career, Pavlyuchenkova has cemented herself as one of the world’s most dangerous players when she’s playing at her best, but consistency has always been the major issue, with the Russian often failing to produce her best tennis week in and week out. But, with back-to-back quarter-finals at a Grand Slam and Premier tournament, perhaps that’s starting to change?

Bertens won the first three meetings between the pair, but Pavlyuchenkova has won their last two in Wuhan last year and of course the Australian Open a couple of weeks ago - and I think she’s the favourite in these conditions. Bertens, despite improving significantly on the surface, isn’t at her best indoors, while Pavlyuchenkova thrives in these conditions where the elements are taken out of the equation. With the home support behind her and the confidence of a recent win over the second seed, Pavlyuchenkova has the chance for a third top 10 win of the season.


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Bertens vs Pavlyuchenkova WTA St. Petersburg live streaming, preview and tips - Pavlyuchenkova targets repeat of Australian Open win over Bertens

Second seed Kiki Bertens comes up against experienced local hope Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova as the pair square off for a place in the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy semi-finals on Friday.

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