After six editions on the lower-tier of the ITF circuit, St. Petersburg Ladies' Trophy became WTA Premier tournament in 2016, with Roberta Vinci, Kristina Mladenovic and Petra Kvitova winning the title there in the last three years.
Kvitova couldn't defend the crown, losing in the quarter-final to Donna Vekic less than a week after playing in the final of the Australian Open, and the biggest star in the draw was Maria Sharapova who rarely plays in Russia in the last ten years or so.
Following a solid win over Daria Gavrilova, Sharapova said she is still dealing with a shoulder injury and she was forced to skip the second round match against the Russian no. 1 Daria Kasatkina. Expressing her sadness about the outcome, Maria will do her best to come back to action as soon as possible and also to make another St.
Petersburg trip next season. Tournament director Alexander Medvedev is also confident they will have Sharapova in the draw again in 12 months if she doesn't make some significant changes and stay on the Tour: "The tournament has been successful, people like it.
Just look at the eight players who entered the quarterfinal: they are the best women in tennis, including Petra Kvitova," Medvedev said. "We are very sorry that Masha Sharapova was unable to show her skills because of an injury and had to withdraw.
However, her presence drew special attention to the event. Personally, I was very pleased to see her professional attitude to her responsibilities beyond the tennis court. Many female players should really learn from Maria. I talked with her after she had suffered an injury and she said she liked St.
Petersburg and wanted to come back here. We agreed that she would come and participate in the tournament next year, provided that there are no changes career-wise."