Home favourite feeling the heat in St Petersburg

By Gerard Mulreaney (@gerard_sports)

Local hope Ekaterina Alexandrova is feeling the pressure of being top seed at the St Petersburg Open.

Having come through her second round match against Czech player Tereza Martincova in straight sets.

6-3, 6-4 Alexandrova said, “I feel a slight pressure on myself because I don’t like playing as the first seed – or any type of seed. I’m preparing for a match even more when I’m seeded. For the whole tournament, I kind of feel like I have to prove something. I don’t like it, but it’s not for me to choose, and I just try to do my best.”

Today wasn’t her best but it was good enough for her to reach the quarterfinals.

Six aces were cancelled out by five double faults throughout the match, while her first serve percentage was just over 50 per cent. Because of that her serve was broken three times, but luckily for her, not at any crucial moments.

Their match, fourth up on Sibur Arena, was delayed significantly due to two of the longest matches in the history of the event. First up, qualifier Anastasia Gasabova defeated Ukrainian Katarina Zavatska 6-2, 5-7, 7-5 in three hours and four minutes, before Vera Zvonareva and Fiona Ferro played out a thrilling encounter which lasted ten minutes longer. The wily veteran Zvonareva coming out victorious 6-7, 6-5, 7-6.

“Yeah, it was quite late, so it wasn’t easy to wait the whole day for the match. I’m pleased with the quarter-final but I’m not really pleased with my game because there were so many unforced errors that I made and I want to fix it for the next match so it will be better,” added Alexandrova.

In today’s other matches sixth seed, and former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko was beaten by Romanian qualifier Jaqueline Adina Cristian 6-3, 7-6. With the win Cristian has made it into her first top tier quarterfinal where she’ll face another former French Open winner in Svetlana Kuznetsova, who dispatched China’s Wang Xin 6-1, 7-5.

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