Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat Qiang Wang 6-3, 6-4 in the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open semifinals, will play Daria Gavrilova in the final after the Australian beat Jennifer Brady 6-0, 7-5.
WTA Staff
October 14, 2017

VICTORIA PARK, Hong Kong - Daria Gavrilova will face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final of the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open after both recorded semifinal victories on Saturday.

Gavrilova cantered past Jennifer Brady in straight sets 6-0, 7-5, while Pavlyuchenkova overcame Wang Qiang 6-3, 6-4 in the latter match.

Gavrilova was first to book her place in Sunday's showpiece, the seventh seed finding her best form to dominate Brady. The World No.22 had been taken to three sets in each of her previous two matches in the tournament but wasted little time here.

"I played a lot more cleaner and felt a lot better," Gavrilova said. "I was not happy with my performance last night so I made sure I was going to change that today. I played the best match in a while, since the [start of] the Asian tour. Hopefully I can keep up the form and just keep it going.

"I hit a lot more second serves today than usual. I made it clear in my head where I was going to hit - I made the target smaller. I don't think I made too many unforced errors. I feel she felt like she had to go for bigger shots, therefore she was missing."

Brady was broken in the first game of the match and enjoyed little reward thereafter in the opening set, the World No.70 again losing her serve to Gavrilova in games three and five as she failed to register on the scoreboard.

A quarterfinalist here two years ago and a semifinalist last year, Gavrilova continued her Hong Kong progression in the second set, breaking early for a 2-1 lead after Brady had finally got on the board.

The American found her feet as the set developed and broke back for the first time in the match to level at 4-4. That game was the first of four successive breaks of serve, Gavrilova emerging 6-5 ahead to serve for the match and a place in the final.

Sunday's match will be her third WTA final of the year, having already won in Strasbourg and lost in New Haven.

Pavlyuchenkova maintained her perfect tournament to take her place in Sunday's match as she made it past World No.48 Wang. The Russian had already beaten Wang earlier this year in the pair's only previous meeting, and continued her dominance against her Chinese opponent.

The 25-year-old took Pavlyuchenkova to three sets in a two-hour encounter in Tokyo, but could not push the World No.21 as hard here.

"It was a good, solid match," the victor said. "We played in Tokyo and it was a much tougher match. I look on it as a real positive that today was two sets and comfortable. Of course it was still a tough match, I am just happy I found a way to make it shorter. The weather? It was tough. When it's 40C and humid it's very difficult. A lot of wind and not easy to serve. I'm really happy with the way I handled the pressure and the weather." 

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Getty)
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova reached the final in Hong Kong (Getty)

Neither player had dropped a set coming in to the last four and Pavlyuchenkova began stronger, breaking in the first game for an early lead. Wang broke back at 3-3 before losing her service in the very next game as Pavlyuchenkova capitalised to take the first set.

The 26-year-old, making her debut in the event but with titles already won in Rabat and Monterrey this year, broke for a 2-0 lead in the second set but was hauled back to 2-1 straightaway by Wang.

Pavlyuchenkova broke again for a 4-2 lead and, despite brief hope for Wang with a break back at 5-4, was not to be denied victory and a place in the final against Gavrilova.

Gavrilova won the only previous meeting with Pavlyuchenkova - in Moscow over three sets last year. "Last time we played it was tough," the Russian continued. "I feel fitter and it will be a different match [in the final]."