Elena Vesnina will face off against defending champion Mona Barthel in the Moorilla Hobart International final from 2pm today.
The pair have met only once before; a first round clash at the China Open in Beijing last September where Vesnina got the better of Barthel winning 6-1 6-1.
Barthel feels that the match will be different though.
“We played last year in Beijing and I lost against her but I think tomorrow is going to be a little different. It wasn’t my best day in Beijing, it was really bad but I think tomorrow it’s going to be better.”
But the defending champion from Germany is taking nothing away from her opponent who is making her sixth appearance at the tournament.
“She’s playing really good tennis, I think she’s serving well and moving well and has really good groundstrokes so it’s going to be pretty difficult for sure,” said Barthel.
Barthel will most certainly go in to the match as favourite. She has a fantastic track record at the Moorilla Hobart International having one her past 12 matches here.
Barthel won her first WTA title at this very tournament in January last year, before a highly successful first year on the women’s tour, just last week making the semifinals of the ASB Classic in Auckland.
On her way to the finals at this year’s tournament Barthel overcame Australian rising star Ashleigh Barty in the opening round before accounting for South African Chanelle Scheepers in round two. She then put on a classy display to overcome Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova in the quarters before beating an inform Kirsten Flipkens 6-3 6-3 in the semi-final.
Despite Barthel’s admirable credentials Vesnina will be quietly confident of snapping the German’s Hobart winning streak and clinching her maiden WTA singles title. She has been in outstanding form early in the year, making the quarterfinals of the ASB Classic in Auckland last week before her finals run here in Hobart.
In her run to the final Vesnina easily accounted for qualifier Silvia Soler Espionosa in the first round of the tournament before defeating fourth seed Yaroslava Shvedova in round two. In the third round she beat Australian wildcard entrant Jarmila Gajdosova, while in the quarterfinal she upset America’s world No. 29 Sloane Stephens to book her spot in a seventh WTA final.
By Nick Cuthbertson.