ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - Timea Bacsinszky and Vera Zvonareva came back from a set down against Katarina Srebotnik and Alla Kudryavtseva to capture the doubles crown at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, 2-6, 6-1, 10-3.
Their victory is twice as sweet for veteran player Zvonareva; it’s her first title of any kind, singles or doubles, since capturing the 2012 Australian Open doubles title with Svetlana Kuznetsova.
The former World No.2 spent a lengthy time away from the courts after a series of injury woes, and enjoyed her break by getting married, becoming a mom, commentating for Eurosport and receiving her Master’s degree, before returning to the game at the ITF level last year.
“It’s very exciting and pleasing to play here in Russia,” Zvonareva told press afterwards. “The fact that I won this title is very pleasing. I gained confidence, because I didn’t have matches against high-level players for a long time.
“It was a good experience. I understood what things I have to work on and what I’m good at. It’s very pleasing that I had so many matches and that I won my title at home.”
Zvonareva’s partner Bacsinszky also overcame injury to reach St. Petersburg - she was sidelined since last year’s Wimbledon due to a hand injury, which required surgery, before making her comeback this week. It’s Bacsinszky’s first title since lifting the singles trophy at Rabat in 2016.
“Maybe I can’t still believe it, to be honest, because six months ago the specialists said that I won’t be able to play tennis,” Bacsinszky admitted. “Then I had the surgery and now I can play tennis again.
“It feels great especially to win the title. It gives me a lot of energy for the rest of the season. Energy for competing in doubles and in singles. I remain a singles player even when I won more doubles titles than single titles.
“It is the joy of being on the court, competing again, that's something that is priceless for me. Thank you again, Vera.”
Entering the tournament unseeded, the pair sent a powerful message to the St. Petersburg doubles field with a commanding 6-0, 6-0 victory over Russian wildcards Valeriya Pogrebnyak and Elena Rybakina. They had to come back from a set down against Anna Kalinskaya and Vera Lapko to edge through 3-6, 6-3 10-8, before stunning the No.1 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yifan in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2 in the semifinals.
In the championship match against Srebotnik and Kudryavtseva, Bacsinszky and Zvonareva couldn’t manage to hold serve in an opening set that featured six breaks. They got back on track in the second, rocketing ahead 3-0 with a double break before leveling the match to bring up the tiebreaker.
After getting the early mini-break at 3-0, Bacsinszky and Zvonareva kept the pressure on to hang onto their lead, allowing their opponents just three points before wrapping up the match in an hour and 13 minutes.