Pavlyuchenkova Wins In Paris
Published February 02, 2014 12:15
The championship match was a clear contrast of styles. Pavlyuchenkova the aggressor, ripping her big serves and groundstrokes; the No.3-seeded Errani was the crafty counterpuncher, not just tirelessly running everything down but using angles, spins and volleys to off-set her opponent's rhythm.
It couldn't have been streakier. Pavlyuchenkova came out firing, building a 3-1 lead in the first set, but Errani reeled off the next seven games to build a 63 20 lead, even holding a point for 63 30. Pavlyuchenkova struck back with seven games of her own to take the second set and move ahead 1-0 in the third, but Errani retaliated with three straight games to build a 3-1 lead in that decider.
One last swing sealed it though. Her huge groundstrokes on fire again, Pavlyuchenkova ran off five games in a row - dropping just six points in the process - to run away with the match, 36 62 63. The Russian crushed an inside out forehand winner on match point, her 48th winner of the day.
"When I lost seven games in a row I don't really know what happened - maybe I was a little stressed because I was missing some shots and she was so solid," Pavlyuchenkova said. "Also, I was serving so well throughout the tournament and there were times today where I was struggling on serve.
"But I knew it was from my side, so if I just focused and kept fighting I could get it back."
It was an amazing end to an amazing week for Pavlyuchenkova, who had beaten three seeds in a row en route to the final already - No.7 seed Carla Suárez Navarro, No.4 seed Angelique Kerber and No.1 seed Maria Sharapova. With wins over the No.9-ranked Kerber, the No.5-ranked Sharapova and the No.7-ranked Errani, she beat three Top 10 players in the same tournament for the very first time.
And she came away with her biggest career title - her first Premier-level title. It was the Russian's sixth overall WTA title, her first five coming at International-level tournaments (she is a three-time winner at Monterrey, in 2010, 2011 and 2013, plus conquering Istanbul in 2010 and Oeiras in 2013).
Pavlyuchenkova was asked afterwards if she has her eye on the Top 10 now. "I don't like to look too far ahead or at rankings in general," the former World No.13 said. "I just want to keep working hard and improving my game, and if I keep doing those things it will show in rankings and results."
Errani was also seeking the biggest title of her career. She's now 7-8 lifetime in WTA finals.
"I'm still very happy I could make the final," the Italian said. "I had very good matches from the first round, from Knapp to Svitolina to Cornet, but I was a little bit more tired than normal in the match today because of yesterday. It was very tough to recover. But it was still a very good week for me."