Russia’s Sharapova, Kasatkina to play at 2019 WTA St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy

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ST. PETERSBURG, January 9. /TASS/. Russian tennis players Maria Sharapova and Daria Kasatkina will play at the 2019 WTA St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy tennis tournament, which kicks off in late January, Alexander Medvedev, the tournament’s director general, said on Wednesday.

Last Friday, Sharapova retired from the quarterfinals round of the WTA tournament in China’s Shenzhen citing an injury. She left the tournament during her encounter with Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. The Russian player was trailing behind her opponent 1-6, 2-4, when she was forced to retire.

“This year we have a lineup of stars, with three players from the [WTA] top ten, including last year’s winner of the tournament Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic,” Medvedev told journalists. “I would like to remind that she [Kvitova] won a total of 25 tournaments in singles, is the two-time Wimbledon champion and was the second best in the [WTA] rankings.”

“We will also see playing here world’s No. 9 Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, who is the winner of 12 tournaments in singles,” he said. “Another player from the top 10 is our Daria Kasatkina, who began her path to the top of the tennis world here in St. Petersburg.”

“I must also mention such participants as our [Russian] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, French Kristina Mladenovic, very strong German player Julia Goerges and, of course, our Maria Sharapova,” the tournament’s director general stated. “We have been worried about her [Sharapova’s] recently sustained injury.”

“According to the most recent information coming from her team, Sharapova is preparing for the Australian Open and we hope that nothing would obstruct her from playing there [in Melbourne] and here in St. Petersburg,” Medvedev said.

The St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy is classified as the WTA (Women Tennis Association) Premier tournament and was first held in Saint Petersburg in 2003. This year the tournament is scheduled to run in the Russian second largest city between January 28 and February 3.

Other players lined up to play at the tournament are Aryna Sobolenka and Aliaksandra Sasnovich (both from Belarus), Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro, Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky, Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, Italy’s Camila Giorgi, Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, Croatia’s Donna Vekic, Australia’s Daria Gavrilova, Alize Cornet of France, Maria Sakkari from Greece and Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva.

Medvedev added that Russian tennis player Vera Zvonareva applied for the wild card spot at the 2019 St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy.

He also said that the specific feature of the upcoming tournament in St. Petersburg will be an open draw procedure of the tournament’s players.

“I believe that it will be very interesting as there will be also live broadcast on Match-TV television channel,” Medvedev said. “This is an opportunity for the viewers not to watch the qualifiers only, but the unique ceremony as well, since it is very spectacular and has an intrigue, which will decide the pairs and will allow viewers to make personal schedules.”

“The most important is that everyone will learn when Sharapova will be playing,” Medvedev told TASS adding that the draw procedure, which will be now open to the public, is part of the program to engage more viewers into watching the tennis tournament in St. Petersburg.

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