Date: 10 February 2022.
Tournament: St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy.
Round: Second round (Round of 16).
Venue: St. Petersburg, Russia.
Category: WTA 500.
Surface: Indoor Hardcourt.
Match timing: 1 pm local time, 10 am GMT, 5 am ET, 3.30 pm IST
Prize money: $703,580.
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video.
Elena Rybakina vs Tereza Martincova preview
Third seed Elena Rybakina will aim for a quarterfinal berth when she squares off against World No. 42 Tereza Martincova in the second round at St. Petersburg on Thursday.
Rybakina enjoyed a good start to 2022 as she managed a runner-up finish in Adelaide. However, her progress was derailed by a thigh injury that saw her retire midway through her second-round match at the Australian Open. Having fully recovered, the Kazakh has now come back to the tournament where she reached the final in 2020.
Rybakina looked devastatingly good in her first-round match against Varvara Gracheva on Wednesday, striking the ball with venom. The 6-2, 6-1 win will boost her confidence as she continues her title hunt in St. Petersburg.
World No. 42 Tereza Martincova, meanwhile, had a decent second half of the season last year. Martincova reached the final in Prague and the quarterfinals in Chicago and Ostrava.
The start to the new season, however, hasn't been kind to the Czech so far. The 27-year-old managed to win just a couple of matches in three tournaments prior to arriving in St. Petersburg.
It needed a herculean effort from Martincova to edge Russian veteran Vera Zvonareva 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the first round on Tuesday. She will hope to recover quickly and be at her best against the in-form Rybakina.
Elena Rybakina vs Tereza Martincova head-to-head
Rybakina leads the head-to-head against Martincova 1-0, having won their solitary encounter 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 in the qualifying rounds of Moscow in 2017.
Elena Rybakina vs Tereza Martincova prediction
Rybakina comes into this contest as the fresher of the two, having breezed through her first-round match in just 57 minutes. She played excellent first-strike tennis, winning 95% of her first serve points.
The fast indoor conditions are tailor-made for the World No. 12, who hits powerful, flat groundstrokes off both wings. Although the Kazakh has the advantage, she cannot afford to take her opponent lightly.
Martincova will look to give her an extra ball back and frustrate her into making errors. The Czech's sturdy defense could cause her opponet a few problems.
However, Rybakina has been in smashing form this year. She also won their last meeting in three sets, which should give her plenty of confidence to tackle Martincova.
Prediction: Elena Rybakina to win in two tight sets.