WTA St. Petersburg: Kiki Bertens topples Aryna Sabalenka to set Vekic clash

Tennis - Donna needed just 70 minutes to dismiss Vera Zvonareva

by Jovica Ilic
WTA St. Petersburg: Kiki Bertens topples Aryna Sabalenka to set Vekic clash

The 22-year-old Croat Donna Vekic is through to her seventh and the biggest WTA final, defeating a home star and a former world no. 2 Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 6-2 in 70 minutes. The Russian won their match at Wimbledon in 2014 but she stood no chance today against an in-form rival, earning just 11 points on the return and losing almost half of the points in her games to suffer four breaks from nine opportunities that Donna created.

The Croat dominated with her first serve, painting the lines with winners and doing just about everything right on the court to dominate from start to finish and score another great win just a day after she dismissed Petra Kvitova, also in straight sets.

Vekic drew first blood in the third game with a forehand winner and she forced an error from Zvonareva two games later for another break and a 4-1 lead, wasting a set point on the return 5-1 but sealing the set with a hold a few minutes later.

The second set lasted just 30 minutes and Donna had the upper hand on both the serve and return, losing four points behind the initial shot and breaking Vra twice to bring the match home safely. Just like in the opener, Zvonareva was broken in the third game following a forehand winner from Vekic and she netted a forehand while serving next time around to find herself 4-1 down.

Serving for the win at 5-2, Donna placed a volley winner to wrap up the win and march towards the title match. There, she will have to beat the 2nd seed Kiki Bertens to put her hands on the trophy, with the Dutch beating the 4th seed Aryna Sabalenka 7-6, 6-2 in an hour and 38 minutes for her tenth WTA final.

Bertens toppled Sabalenka for the third time in a row, winning just six points more than her rival and gaining a massive momentum after winning the opening set to break her rival's resistance in the second. Kiki broke in the very first game of the match after a colossal backhand error from Sabalenka who pulled it back in the fourth game after a double fault from Bertens.

Both players wasted a couple of break points in games seven and eight to set up a tie break that Kiki won 7-5 after a magnificent forehand down the line winner. This proved to be the most crucial shot of the match, with Sabalenka losing the ground in set number two when she suffered three breaks to hand the victory to her rival after a forehand error at 2-5. Semi-final results:

[8]Donna Vekic (CRO) vs [WC]Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 6-2 6-2
[2]Kiki Bertens (NED) vs [4]Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) 7-6(5) 6-2

Kiki Bertens Aryna Sabalenka Vera Zvonareva