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Kasatkina vs Zvonareva WTA St. Petersburg Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Russian No. 1, Kasatkina still seeking her first win of 2019

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 31 Jan 2019
  • Daria Kasatkina vs Vera Zvonareva is live from St. Petersburg on Friday, 1 February from 6:30pm local time/ 3:30pm GMT
  • Kasatkina and Zvonareva go head-to-head for the first time on Friday
Daria Kasatkina. (Photo by PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

Still seeking her first win of the season, Russian No. 1, Daria Kasatkina takes on veteran compatriot, Vera Zvonareva in the quarter finals of the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy on Friday.

It seems rather bizarre that Kasatkina is into a quarter final despite being winless this season, but she got a first-round bye in St. Petersburg by virtue of being seeded third, and then had a walkover against Maria Sharapova, who pulled out of their scheduled second-round meeting due to a shoulder complaint.

When she has actually played, Kasatkina is 0-3 this year, losing a tight three-setter to Australian wildcard, Kimberly Birrell in her season opener in Brisbane before suffering heavy losses to Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Timea Bacsinszky in Sydney and the Australian Open respectively. She has had some fortune in St. Petersburg- can she turn it into something more substantial?

Kasatkina generally plays well in Russia- she has been to the St. Petersburg semi-finals in two of the last three seasons, while she has reached at least the quarter finals of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow in each of the last four years, winning the title last season after finishing runner-up in 2017.

Recent history suggests that she should not panic despite her disappointing start to the year. She was 1-3 in 2018 after three tournaments, but she went on to compile her best ever campaign, highlighted by a second career title in Moscow, Grand Slam quarter finals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, a maiden Premier Mandatory final at Indian Wells and a top-ten finish. It was a semi-final in St. Petersburg that served as the launch-pad into her 2018 successes, and she will attempt to return to the last four for the second season running when she plays Zvonareva on Friday.


Still very much on the comeback trail after spending a significant amount of time away from the tour, Zvonareva has made a fine start to the year, reaching the semi-finals in Shenzhen and now making the quarters in St. Petersburg following big victories over Ekaterina Makarova and Julia Goerges. She secured a relatively comfortable 6-3 6-4 victory over Makarova, but had to dig deeper against Goerges in the second round, fighting back from a set and a break down to beat second seed.

“I knew it was going to be a very tough match and I would have to focus on every point, regardless of the score,” she said after the match. “Julia started unbelievably well but once I got the break [in the second set] I started to relax and play a little bit more aggressive.”

The one real blip in her season so far was her failure to qualify for the Australian Open, as she fell to Astra Sharma in the first round of qualifying.

Vera Zvonareva. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
A two-time Grand Slam finalist, Zvonareva was world No. 2 at the end of 2010, and No. 7 at the end of 2011, but her ranking soon began to plummet as injuries and health issues set in. She missed the second half of 2012 due to illness, and was absent for the entirety of 2013 after shoulder surgery. Zvonareva played just five tour-level tournaments in 2014, before another two-year break from the sport from April 2015 and March 2017 within which she got married and had a baby.

Without a ranking on her return to the sport in 2017, the Russian began the process of rebuilding her career via the long route of the ITF pro-circuit, and together with a few appearances on the main tour, she was back at 203rd in the world by the end of the year. The 34-year-old reached a year-end mark of 109 in 2018, and has continued that progress at the start of 2019, breaking back into the top 100 with her semi-final run in Shenzhen.

Zvonareva takes on her younger compatriot, Kasatkina for the first time on Friday, and has got another fantastic opportunity to record another big to her comeback trail. (It wouldn't quite be the biggest since her return to the tour as she defeated top-ten star, Karolina Pliskova in Moscow last October).

“It’s going to be a very difficult match,” Zvonareva opined. “She’s a great player, much younger than me, and we’ve never met on the court before. It’s a tough challenge for me and I will try and prepare myself the best I can and we’ll see what happens".

Zvonareva has already shown that she can still produce a decent level of tennis, which is what Kasatkina has not managed so far this season. The younger Russian also lacks any rhythm or momentum as she has not played since the middle of January, when she crashed at the first hurdle at the Australian Open. Zvonareva, on the other hand, is coming off a couple of big wins over former top-ten players, Makarova and Goerges, and must be brimming with confidence. The 'upset' is very much on the cards on Friday.

Daria Kasatkina vs Vera Zvonareva is live from St. Petersburg on Friday, 1 February from 6:30pm local time/ 3:30pm GMT

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Kasatkina vs Zvonareva WTA St. Petersburg Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Russian No. 1, Kasatkina still seeking her first win of 2019

Daria Kasatkina takes on Vera Zvonareva in the quarter finals of the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy on Friday. Can the younger Russian finally get her first win of the season? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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