Maria Sakkari, the world no.21 and the number six seed this week, will face in-form Kazakh Elena Rybakina in the semifinal of the WTA St. Petersburg Ladies trophy on Saturday, February 15. The match will start at 2 pm local time (12 pm BST) and you can find the Maria Sakkari v Elena Rybakina live streaming options along with its preview, head to head and tips here.
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Maria Sakkari v Elena Rybakina Head to Head
This will be a first-ever meeting between 24-year-old Sakkari and Rybakina – a player who is four years her junior.
Sakkari with a Comeback-From-Behind Win v Bencic
For the second time this week, Maria Sakkari showed immense athleticism and mental fortitude to produce yet another comeback win against the World No.5 Belinda Bencic. The Greek had a 2-6 win-loss record against top-5 opposition throughout her career, but was able to secure her third win against that cohort in a little over two hours.
The 24-year-old has now bettered her record in St. Petersburg by making the semifinals. In fact, in her two appearances at Russia’s second city, she had failed to progress beyond the first round, losing to Julia Goerges in both 2018 and 2019 editions.
This will also represent her first semifinal of 2020 after losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open. But her brilliant work in Melbourne should not got under the radar considering she had not made the second week of Grand Slam before this year.
But will she have enough left in the tank to beat an in-form Rybakina on Saturday?
Rybakina Has Been A Sensation in 2020
It wasn’t just Sakkari who was pulling off a feat of escapology on Friday afternoon, but Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina was the last woman standing in a battle for survival of the fittest against rejuvenated Frenchwoman Oceane Dodin.
Rybakina saved two match-points deep in the second set to slip past French qualifier Dodin, who had played exceptionally well for the first two sets. Ultimately, it was the 20-year-old youngster who took control of the match when it went the distance, as Dodin’s form waned.
Rybakina’s reward for that win is a place in the semifinals of the St. Petersburg Ladies trophy, keeping up her terrific start to the 2020 season. The World No.25 has been a breath of fresh air on the WTA tour, ticking all the boxes on the self-improvement grid so far.
The Kazakh has already made two finals this year, which came in the opening two weeks: finishing runner-up in Shenzhen and then beating Zhang Shuai to win the WTA Hobart International title. Rybakina’s rise has been nothing short of magical. She was ranked at No.183 in the world at the start of 2019, but ended up finishing the year comfortably inside the top-50.
Maria Sakkari v Elena Rybakina Predictions & Tips
Rybakina’s confidence levels must be sky-high right now, and she just doesn’t know when she is beaten. Sometimes saving match-points is a matter of luck, but people tend to forget that composure and willingness to take risks is just as important, and the young Kazakh showed that in her quarterfinal. Expect the 20-year-old to maintain her brilliant start to the year.
Tip: Rybakina to win: 8/11 (Click here to get these odds with Unibet)