Kasatkina is the 1st Russian to win the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy

Daria Kasatkina with her Trophy trophy
Daria Kasatkina with her St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy trophy

Yesterday one of the biggest and most prestigious WTA tournaments in Russia, the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, came to an end. It started in St. Petersburg on the 15th and ended on the 21st of March. As you already know, 28 competitors battled on indoor hard courts to be named the best and win the prize fund of more than 500 thousand dollars.

Two representatives of Russia – Margarita Gasparyan and Daria Kasatkina – fought in the final. Who won and became the first Russian winner in tournament history?

Kasatkina about her victory in the St. Petersburg tournament and who she looks up to among the tennis players

The 61st-ranked tennis player of the world, Daria Kasatkina, has won the St. Petersburg tournament. In the final, she beat Margarita Gasparyan 6:3, 2:1 before her opponent withdrew due to a back injury.

It makes Kasatkina the first Russian to win the title. By the way, it has been held at the WTA level since 2016. She’s the first on the tour to take two titles this season. Previously, she had won in Melbourne at a tournament held for tennis players who had dropped out of the Australian Open early. All in all, this is the fourth WTA title for the Togliatti native.

In her short interview that the former world No. 10 gave after the match, she commented on her victory at the tournament due to her opponent’s injury, which forced Gasparyan to withdraw almost immediately after the second set.

“Of course, it’s not very nice when finals end like that. But when one has an injury, nothing can be said except to wish a fast recovery. I won the title anyway. And in the end, it doesn’t matter how – the main thing is that I have the trophy now. I’ve already withdrawn from the Miami tournament. Now I’ll get some rest, and I’ll start to prepare for the clay season. Of course winning tournaments gives you confidence. There’s nothing to talk about. It’s always nice to win tournaments. The main thing is not to dwell on it. You need to rejoice and go on because there is still a lot to do,”

Daria shared.

She also said she’s pleased that she has won one more tournament this season. According to her, she has the most fantastic feeling right now, and of course, it boosts her confidence. As her coach says:

“The best medicine for a tennis player is winning matches.”

Besides, the two-tournament champion of the season responded to whether she had taken anything from her opponents’ play during her performance in St. Petersburg.

“I wouldn’t say I learned anything from the tennis players I’m competing against. I try to focus on men’s tennis in that respect. I watch and analyze mostly men’s tennis.”

Kasatkina also said whether she thinks her game is more suited to the clay.

“I could say that, but at the same time, 60% of our season is on hard courts. On clay, we play for about two months. There are fewer opportunities to play. At the same time, I can get quite good results on the clay. Plus, you have to adapt to different surfaces. In St. Petersburg, the surface is prolonged and a bit like clay. This surface suits me, and I like it. My coach says I have a perfect game for hard, and I tell him it’s for the clay. We sometimes argue about it.”

Gasparyan about the back injury and how it affected the final in St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg finalist Margarita Gasparyan wasn’t left out and gave a short interview after she withdrew from the match, in which she explained why she had to go to such extreme measures.

“I already had some back problems in both Australia and France. In Australia, I couldn’t do anything at all, even for a couple of days. I guess I played a lot of matches and got tired. I was very nervous, especially today, and I think I made it worse for myself, so, unfortunately, I couldn’t continue the match,”

said the Russian.

She also admitted she really wanted to play this match to the end. And in general, in her opinion, to refuse to play in the final isn’t good. After all, the audience came, who wanted to see great tennis. That’s why she said she was genuinely sorry for what happened. Gasparyan thought the anti-inflammatory pill she had been given would work – a painkiller. She thought she would feel better, but unfortunately, the pain remained, and she decided not to make it worse.

“Of course, this is very sad for me. I’m sad I couldn’t finish this match – especially since I couldn’t finish the final. But I have to think about my health. I have to recover and get back in good physical shape again.”

How will the rankings change now?

The updated WTA rankings were released today. The rules have changed due to the coronavirus: the ranking will be two-years-old, and players won’t lose points unless they improve last year’s results.

Thus, St. Petersburg champion Daria Kasatkina returned to the top 50 and was ranked 38th, and finalist Margarita Gasparyan returned to the top 100.