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St Petersburg | Bertens successfully defends title

St Petersburg | Bertens successfully defends title

Kiki Bertens won her second straight St Petersburg Ladies’ Trophy on Sunday, defeating Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina in straight sets.


To defend your title, it's always something special. You come with such great memories, and if it happens where you have a beautiful trophy again, I'm more than happy. This week was a really tough week. Kiki Bertens

The World No 8 successfully defended her title over her more inexperienced opponent, 6-1 6-3, in a dominant display of power and accuracy.

Bertens, 28, had only won one WTA Tour title since the last edition of the Russian event 12 months ago and, after an emotional fortnight, she was in tears in her on-court interview after the win.

“To defend your title, it’s always something special,” she said. “You come with such great memories, and if it happens where you have a beautiful trophy again, I’m more than happy.

“This week was a really tough week.

“We lost Saturday night in the deciding doubles [in Fed Cup], 7-6 in the third set and 10-8 in the tiebreak. It was a really tough day.

“Sunday, I was flying here already, but I think I was still crying for the whole night because I felt so bad after that tough loss.

“I was coming here and putting all the energy I still had left in me during my matches.

“My team was pushing me this week, so I’m really thankful for that.

“You can still achieve anything if you just work hard and fight every day to win a match, and you can still hold a trophy at the end of the week.”

Rybakina held her serve in the opening game, but was made to pay from then on as Bertens went on a run of 6 successive games to take the first set at a canter.

The 20-year-old Kazakh then spurned 4 break-point opportunities in the opening game of the second set, only to be broken herself 3 games later as Bertens closed out the win in professional fashion.

The No 2 seed became the first player to successfully defend her title at the Premier-level event over the 8th seed in 74 minutes at the Nurnberger Versicherungscup.

Bertens broke serve 4 times overall and never lost her own, saving all 5 break points that she faced, all of which came in the second set.

The Russian-born Kazakh upped her level in the second set, as four of the nine games extended past deuce, but Bertens had all the answers in crucial moments.

“I never expect any match to be easy. It didn’t feel easy, of course, even though the scoreline was. At the end, I felt a little bit nervous, but I was just happy to close it out,” Bertens said.

“I just tried to approach every point the same, no matter what the score is. Sometimes, on a break point, you go for a little more on serve, and that’s what I did today.”

In doubles, top seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara rallied past No.3 seeds Kaitlyn Christian and Alexa Guarachi to claim their third title as a team and second straight in Russia, 4-6, 6-0, 10-3.

The Japanese pair have now won their last three finals, winning the Tianjin Open and the Kremlin Cup in Moscow last fall.

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