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Teen Queen Closes In On Title No.2

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will go for her second career title. Elena Vesnina is up next.

Published July 31, 2010 12:00

Teen Queen Closes In On Title No.2
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

ISTANBUL, Turkey - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova battled her way into the final of the Istanbul Cup on Saturday, grinding out a two-hour, 10-minute semifinal victory over hard-hitting and rapidly-improving Aussie Jarmila Groth.

Pavlyuchenkova, the No.3 seed at the hardcourt tournament, hadn't played Groth before but when the two power players took the courts the sparks flew. Pavlyuchenkova had to save two set points at 5-6 en route to winning the first set, then after getting blown off the court in the second set had to fight hard as Groth served for the match in the third at 5-4, even holding 30-15 in that game.

"I started thinking about the possibility of losing when she was serving for the match, but I kept fighting every point and kept believing," Pavlyuchenkova said. "I got more confident after breaking her and that was the turning point."

Pavlyuchenkova won 11 of the next 15 points to prevail, 76(1) 26 75.

"I don't mind who I play in the final, especially after the match I had today," the Russian said. "I am just so happy I won. I have played a few times against Vesnina and I think I beat her the last time we played, but she's a very good player. I'm sure it's going to be another tough match tomorrow."

See pics of Anastasia and all the rest now in the photo gallery!

Next up for Pavlyuchenkova will be Elena Vesnina, who rebounded from a 24-minute first set loss and rallied from 0-3 in the third to make it past No.6 seed Andrea Petkovic in a dramatic second semifinal, 16 60 76(2).

"We were both surprised with the score," Vesnina said. "We both fought for every point and waited for our chances - I had my chance and I took it."

Pavlyuchenkova will be playing for her second Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title, having won her only previous final at Monterrey this year. Vesnina is playing in her third final but is 0-2 in her first two, finishing runner-up twice in 2009, at Auckland (to Elena Dementieva) and New Haven (to Caroline Wozniacki).

Pavlyuchenkova leads Vesnina in their career head-to-head, 1-0.

"It's great for Russia and Russian tennis that I'm playing Anastasia tomorrow," added Vesnina, who turns 24 on Sunday. "She's a great player, an up and coming player, and yet it feels like she has been on the Tour for a long time already. She has won a tournament already this year and it's going to be a tough match. If I win the final it will definitely be my best birthday present."

Eleni Daniilidou and Jasmin Woehr won their first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title together in the doubles final, beating No.1 seeds Maria Kondratieva and Vladimira Uhlirova, 64 16 119. Daniilidou and Woehr were playing their fourth Tour final together but came away with their first title. Daniilidou now has two Tour doubles titles to her name; Woehr now has three to her name.

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