Petra Kvitova will be the main attraction at the St. Petersburg Trophy in Russia. Kvitova lost a sensational final in the Australian Open on Saturday against Naomi Osaka. It was a final that should have been won more easily by Osaka but she failed to convert 4 match points to take the second set. Kvitova showed all the strength and skill she needed to overcome that obstacle but Osaka managed to keep calm and regain control of the match with some outstanding play.
Kvitova is the defending champion in St Petersburg and will be keen to have consecutive titles and keep her near the top of the world rankings. Her opponents this week include the 2017 Champion Kristina Mladenovic who seems to love this venue. Mladenovic was the runner up to Kvitova in last years tournament too. At odds of 40/1, she might be a good each way bet.
Kvitova’s potential opponent in the second round could be Victoria Azarenka. That could prove to be tough. Donna Vekic, Daria Kasatkina, Maria Sharapova and Julia Goerges are all on Kvitova’s side of the draw. Defending her title will not be easy.
Mladenovic is the the opposite side of the draw and if she can beat an inconsistent Ostapenko in the first round she should be able to push further on.
For me this an open tournament and I can see a few upsets along the way. The week after a Grand Slam is always tricky to call. I think it comes too soon for Kvitova. Best bet for me is Mladenovic E/W.