There's a first for everything in tennis, and in Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova's case at the Portugal Open on Friday, two firsts - what two things did the Russian accomplish for the first time?
WTA Staff

OEIRAS, Portugal - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova overcame the slowest of starts in the semifinals of the Portugal Open on Friday, bouncing back from a 6-0 first set blowout to get past Romina Oprandi.

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Oprandi's unique mix of spins, paces and trajectories had been confounding her opponents all week - she beat Kiki Bertens, Peng Shuai and Svetlana Kuznetsova in straight sets, never losing more than three games in a set - and that pattern continued on Friday, as she blanked Pavlyuchenkova in a 27-minute first set, even running off the last 10 points, finishing it off with big back-to-back aces.

"I don't like to complain or find excuses, but I started the match really slowly today because I didn't feel like I had enough time to recover from yesterday's match," Pavlyuchenkova said. "It was almost three hours yesterday and it was such an early start today - it was very hard to recover for this one."

Pavlyuchenkova had never won a match after losing the first set at love - she had lost the first set at love six times before and always ended up losing the match, only once pushing it to three sets.

But there's a first for everything.

"You can want it or not, but your body still needs recovery time - but I still kept believing and kept playing my game," Pavlyuchenkova said. "I don't like making excuses. I turned it around."

The Russian held serve in the first game of the second set and stayed on serve through 2-all before finally kicking into high gear - she would win 10 of 12 games from there and move on, 06 63 61.

"I'm never completely happy with my game, to be honest, especially the way I started the match today, but the last two sets were good and I won the match, so there are positives," Pavlyuchenkova said. "I have a lot of things I need to work on, though. I can always improve in every aspect of my game.

"Right now I feel like I need to jump into a cold swimming pool or an ice bath! Or just go to sleep. Just relax. Maybe today I'll do something fun to get away from tennis a little bit - maybe I'll go into the city and do some shopping, or just take a walk around the city. Just anything to relax, really."

Next up for the No.3-seeded Pavlyuchenkova is No.4-seeded Carla Suárez Navarro, who won through later in the day. Pavlyuchenkova has beaten Suárez Navarro in all four of their previous meetings.

"Carla plays a more Spanish game, playing really well on clay," Pavlyuchenkova said. "I might go and watch a little bit of her semifinal later on to prepare to play against her in tomorrow's final."

Pavlyuchenkova will be playing the seventh WTA final of her career, going 4-2 in her first six. It's her first such final on clay - in fact, before this week she had never even been to a clay court semifinal.

"Actually I didn't know that, it's true - so I'm happier!" she said. "I don't really think too much about this though. You just go out there and play - you don't think about whether this is your first semifinal or final.

"I guess the time is right."