Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova pulled off a big upset over rival and World No.1 Angelique Kerber to take home the Abierto GNP Seguros title.
WTA Staff

MONTERREY, Mexico - No.2 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova completed a Russian sweep of WTA titles this week, shocking top seed and World No.1 Angelique Kerber, 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 to win her fourth Abierto GNP Seguros title.

"I'm really overwhelmed and don't think I realized that I just won my fourth Monterrey trophy," she said in her post-victory press conference. "Some people just have four trophies in total, and I have four here! It's very special and it's a special place in my heart; it's where I won my first title and since won three more.

"But a trophy is a trophy; I'm so happy to hold it."

Following countrywoman Daria Kasatkina's title run at the Volvo Car Open, Pavlyuchenkova got out to the early advantage in Sunday's final, taking the only break of the first set on her third set point.

"Playing the final against the No.1 player in the world is already very special, because everyone wants to compete against the No.1. You don't get so many chances to do it, so it was one opportunity for me today. Beating here feels amazing, but I'm just enjoying the moment right now."

Kerber was looking for her first title of the season and aimed to turn the tables on the big-hitting Russian, winning a long third game to break serve and run away with the second set to level the match.

"Honestly, I didn't have much energy left in the tank during the second set. First, it was really hot today, and tough conditions. Angelique was making me play every single point, so I felt as though I'd already given a lot in the first set. The first three games in the second were really long and I felt, 'That's it. I don't have anything left.'

"But it's a final; I said I'd try my best and give everything I had. So I had to find something somewhere, what little energy I did have, and put that into the match. I'm so happy I managed to do that."

Pavlyuchenkova is in the midst of a career-best start to her year, making quarterfinal finishes at the Australian Open and BNP Paribas Open since hiring new coach Simon Goffin.

With him in her corner, she raced out to a 5-0 lead in the final set, ultimately serving out her ninth career title in just under two hours.

Despite - or perhaps because of - her ability to adapt to the conditions, the Monterrey press still ribbed the Russian over her description of the tough conditions, those in which she nonetheless hit 49 winners to 31 unforced errors - compared to 14 winners to just 10 unforced errors from Kerber.

"I like to complain! Let me complain," she laughed. "I feel sorry for myself sometimes, like it's so hot and so tough. Let me complain. But it's not complaining that much because the conditions aren't easy here in general. Coming from other tournaments, it feels different to play here."

Thanks to their strong results in Monterrey, both women are set to make big leaps on the Road to Singapore leaderboard, with Kerber inching just outside the Top 8 at No.10, while Pavlyuchenkova is two spots behind at No.12.

"I'll probably enjoy this win for a few more days, but in tennis, you've got another one in a couple of weeks. I'll have Fed Cup, playing for my country. But I really hope to bring this form with me throughout the year, improve, and be fitter for the next tournaments."

In the doubles final, top seeds Alicja Rosolska and Nao Hibino recovered from a break down in the second set to defeat Dalila Jakupovic and Nadiia Kichenok, 6-2, 7-6(4).

"Our opponents really stepped up in the second set, played more solid and put a lot of pressure on us. We couldn't play our game style as freely," Rosolska said after the match.

"We had to be more focused from the first ball, so we tried putting in more first serves and be more aggressive so we wouldn't be under as much pressure.

"There was a very important game at 2-4 where we won the deciding point and helped us win the second set."

The pair previously paired up to win an ITF challenger title, but as the Pole noted, "It's our WTA first!"

Alicja Rosolska, Nao Hibino

All photos courtesy of Abierto GNP Seguros.