Moscow R2: (3) (wc) Flavia Pennetta vs Daria Gavrilova
Flavia Pennetta’s Kremlin Cup campaign will begin on Wednesday when she comes up against Daria Gavrilova in the second round of the Kremlin Cup. Flavia Pennetta is one of four ladies in Moscow that are fighting for the two remaining positions at next week’s WTA Finals in Singapore. Pennetta’s destiny is in her own hands, she is currently 8th in the live race and must keep winning to remain ahead of the chasing pack, otherwise she will be relying on other results to qualify.
Flavia Pennetta has struggled since the U.S Open. The Italian stunned the tennis world by claiming her first career Grand Slam at flushing Meadows but was unable to make an impact during the Asian Swing. Pennetta laboured through to the third round in Beijing before losing to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Things got much worse for Pennetta in Tianjin, suffering a humiliating straight set loss to the world ranked 414 Lyudmyla Kichenok. With a good amount of time to prepare in Moscow, Pennetta should be much closer to her best this week as she looks to reach the WTA Finals for the first time in her career.
Daria Gavrilova’s form has deteriorated in the later stages of the season, arriving in Moscow having lost 7 of her last 10 matches. Daria did make a positive start to her Kremlin cup campaign on Tuesday, picking up an extremely hard-fought 3-6 6-3 7-5 victory over Alize Cornet. Gavrilova seems to rise to the occasion when she comes up against a better credentialed opponent, she will enjoy having a crack at the reining U.S Open champion and potentially ending her career.
This will be the first career meeting between the pair, it promises to be an entertaining match. I suspect Flavia Pennetta will be good enough to get the job done here, this is a critical match for the Italian who would have been very embarrassed by her loss in Tianjin and will be desperate to rectify that result and keep her Singapore chances alive. Pennetta does most things better than Gavrilova and her maturity could be a big factor in what should be a close match.