Fixture: Daria Kasatkina vs Margarita Gasparyan
Date: 21 March 2021
Tournament: St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy 2021
Venue: St. Petersburg, Russia
Category: WTA 500
Surface: Indoor hardcourt
Prize money: $565,530
Match timing: Not before 4.30 pm, 7 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Daria Kasatkina vs Margarita Gasparyan preview
The St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy will witness an all-Russian affair in the final for the first time in its history, as Daria Kasatkina takes on Margarita Gasparyan on Sunday.
The eighth-seeded Kasatkina overcame a slow start in her semifinal against Svetlana Kuznetsova before coming through 1-6, 6-0, 6-2. Kasatkina won eight games in a row at one point in the match, producing a fine all-court display to douse the challenge of her veteran opponent.
This is the 23-year-old's third win from a set down in the tournament; she had beaten Veronika Kudermetova and Aliaksandra Sasnovich in a similar manner.
Daria Kasatkina will be contesting her second final of 2021 on Sunday, after having played (and won) the final of the Phillip Island Trophy in February. Out of the 19 matches that Kasatkina has played so far this year, she has emerged victorious in 15.
Given the form that Kasatkina has displayed in St. Petersburg so far, she will enter the title showdown as the favorite over Margarita Gasparyan.
Gasparyan has won eight consecutive sets in the tournament after dropping the opening set against Kristina Mladenovic in the first round. The 26-year-old's giant-killing run to the final has included victories over Katerina Siniakova, top seed Ekaterina Alexandrova and veteran Vera Zvonareva.
In the semis on Saturday, Gasparyan looked in control for the most part, breaking Zvonareva on six occasions. The second set tiebreaker turned out to be a see-saw affair, but Gasparyan saved four set points and ultimate clinched it 11-9.
Daria Kasatkina vs Margarita Gasparyan head-to-head
The head-to-head between Daria Kasatkina and Margarita Gasparyan is currently tied at 0-0, as they have never played each other on tour before.
Daria Kasatkina vs Margarita Gasparyan prediction
Daria Kasatkina is one of the most improved players on tour. She has made noticeable changes to her game this year, and more importantly to her tactical approach.
The 23-year-old is no longer the loose cannon that she once was, and instead bides her time patiently during rallies before going for the jugular. Kasatkina's remarkable foot speed and incredible defensive ability are also back to their best; hitting through her has been a very difficult task this week.
That said, Margarita Gasparyan can take solace from the fact that Kasatkina often takes time to find her footing in matches.
Gasparyan is likely to ask some serious questions of Kasatkina on Sunday. But the younger Russian has enough tricks up her sleeve to withstand the pressure and take home the title.
Prediction: Daria Kasatkina to win in three sets.