St. Petersburg Open: Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonareva headline SF derbies



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St. Petersburg Open: Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonareva headline SF derbies

Both semi-finals at the St. Petersburg Open are to be all-Russian affairs. While three of the four quarter-final matches were Russian derbies, the only match featuring a non-Russian was played between Romanian qualifier Jaqueline Cristian and fourth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova.

The former world no. 2 needed two hours and 13 minutes to come through the clash, 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3. Initially, it was Kuznetsova who built a 5-2 lead over Cristian in the tie-break but the latter stormed through the proceedings by winning five points in a row to go up ahead in the match.

However, across the latter two sets, Kuznetsova came into her own, eventually going on to book her place in the 74th semi-final of her career – and her first here, in St. Petersburg. In the semi-final, Kuznetsova will play eighth seed Daria Kasatkina.

Kasatkina also needed three sets to upset the second seed Veronika Kudermetova 1-6, 6-1, 6-2 in an hour and 41 minutes. This will be the first match between the two Russians.

St. Petersburg Open: Vera Zvonareva makes the most of her wildcard

The second semi-final will be played between wildcards Vera Zvonareva and Margarita Gasparyan.

Unlike the quarter-finals featuring Kuznetsova and Kasatkina, both Zvonareva and Gasparyan won their last-eight clashes in straight sets. The former world no. 2 needed an hour and 22 minutes to defeat Anastasia Gasanova 6-3, 6-1.

Speaking about Gasanova who made it a tough match despite the easy-looking scores, Zvonareva said, “I think the surface suits her really well. The ball doesn't bounce very high, it stays low, so it is not easy to go for the winners.

If you're trying to go for too much, it's likely [you'll] make an unforced error. I was trying to make her move around the court as much as I could and then take any opportunity on the shorter balls”. Gasparyan, meanwhile, ousted the top-seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 7-5 in an hour and 20 minutes.

Vera Zvonareva and Gasparyan will play each other for the second straight year at the St. Petersburg Open. In 2020, the duo faced off in the first round of the qualifiers and Gasparyan won that match in straight sets.