World number 45 Yaroslava Shvedova fell at the first hurdle in the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy with a surprise defeat to Russian wildcard Natalia Vikhlyantseva in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. The world number 115 was the outsider coming into the match on the Sibur Arena court but never looked in trouble during the match. The Russian qualified for her first Grand Slam main draw at the Australian Open and made round two, beating Vania King before losing to compatriot Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Shvedova disappointingly lost in the first round to Irina-Camelia Begu.
Vikhlyantseva grabs break and doesn't look back
The Russian served first and showed off her punchy serve and big groundstrokes as she held to 30 to start off, including a big cross court forehand winner to seal the game. Shvedova came back to hold comfortably to 15 and in the next game brought up the first break point opportunity of the match at 30-40. Vikhlyantseva showed off her excellent serve to dig herself out of that hole and hold after one deuce. Shvedova and Vikhlyantseva then exchanged holds before the decisive game of the first set. The world number 115 brought up a break point at 30-40 and after a neat rally she showed composure to finish it off and make the first move to lead 4-2. Shvedova had a slight look in on the next service game at 15-30 but Vikhlyantseva quickly closed the door and held to 30. Shvedova held to love but Vikhlyantseva quickly brought up three set points and only needed the first to seal the first set, 6-3.
Vikhlyantseva overcomes wobble to seal victory
Shvedova served first and held comfortably for the perfect start to regain some momentum. Shvedova had 15-30 in the next game and dominated a point but missed a routine forehand at the net and the Russian regained control to hold to 30. Vikhlyantseva then brought up two break points of her own in the next game, both were saved but a third one was brought up and taken. Vikhlyantseva then held and Shvedova was getting visibly frustrated as she went from 40-15 up to deuce on her serve. The frustration was creeping into her game and more errors brought up the double break for 4-1. Vikhlyantseva held to 30 for 5-1 and looked like she would cruise to victory but there was another twist in the tale yet.
Shvedova was able to hold to force Vikhlyantseva to serve out the match. At 15-30 Shvedova was on the receiving end of a very lucky netcord to bring up two break points, which she took the first of, and after a love hold to make it 5-4 there were questions going through everyone's mind about the mental state of Vikhlyantseva. The Russian was cool under the pressure though after brought up two match points at 40-15, of which she only needed the first to seal a 6-3, 6-4 victory.