Kiki Bertens wastes no time as she becomes the first player to defend her title in St. Petersburg

No one has had a more consistent season than Elena Rybakina. The 20 year old who was born in Russia but represents Kazakhstan made it all the way to the final in St. Petersburg for her third final already in 2020.

Kiki Bertens has likewise put a lot into her week in Russia so much so the number two seed announced before the final she will not head to Dubai next week. Bertens is able to withdraw with being penalised under the new excused withdrawal rule from the WTA about travelling to a different continent and having to play potentially 24 hours later.

Bertens was due to be the first opponent in Kim Clijsters’ comeback but that will now be Muguruza.

It was the second seed Kiki Bertens who raced ahead, despite pulling out of next week she was pulling Elena around the court. Bertens is known for her hard hitting tennis from the baseline it was next level against the youngster as she took a 6-1 lead in 30 minutes.

Following the first set, Rybakina headed off court for a 4 1/2 minute break despite being on the court for half an hour.

On return she made an immediate impression on the Bertens serve.

The Kazakh made some inroads with some good powerful hitting as she found three opportunities but couldn’t take any to find her first break of serve.

From there on in it was one way traffic with Bertens winning 4 of the next 5 games with deep hitting but also some naive play at the net at 2-1 15-15 gave Bertens that lead added scoreboard pressure to Rybakina.

When your down a set and a break it is a question of whether you go out with a fight or fizzle out is a big ask especially in a final. Kiki Bertens is that competitor that just won’t go away but noise from Rybakina so far this season has shown she won’t.

The 20 year old did well to hold for 2-4 but despite pushing the second seed couldn’t stop her taking a 5-2 lead and a game from sealing the title.

For just the first time in the match Rybakina won two service games on the bounce and would ask the question of Bertens to serve it out. The question was answered easily as Bertens became the first player to defend their title in St. Petersburg.

Screenshot 2020-02-16 at 15.04.12

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