MONTERREY, México - As a former junior No.1, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova arrived on the WTA with high expectations and no little fanfare.
Pavlyuchenkova's big game seemed tailor-made for the pro ranks, and after all her junior accomplishments she was touted by many as the game's next big thing. She did not disappoint.
At 17, she had already cracked the Top 50 and one year later she was picking up her first silverware, in Monterrey. That was in 2010, and while her ascension up the tennis ladder in the intervening period has been steady rather than spectacular, at the grand old age of 21, she now looks set to take the next step.
In fact, it was the third time she had triumphed at the picturesque Sierra Madre Tennis Club, having also taken home the trophy in 2011.
Victory over World No.6 Angelique Kerber in Sunday's rollercoaster final extended Pavlyuchenkova's unbeaten record in Monterrey to 15 matches, further endearing the tournament and city itself to the Russian.
"I would like it even if I lost first round because it's an amazing city and people - this doesn't change because of the result," Pavlyuchenkova said. "I feel really, really happy that I've managed to have this record here and I'm just happy I won another title."
The points gained from lifting the title saw Pavlyuchenkova return to the Top 20 for the first time in over a year, although it was the quest for brownie, rather than ranking, points that pushed her over finish line in the end.
"Winning the tournament also means my dad won't be moaning when I get home! That was motivating me too," Pavlyuchenkova joked after the match. "You know there are some parents who like to tell you things all the time. My dad's like that! To my parents, I'm still a really little girl.
"Even though I won, I'm sure he'll find something. He'll say, 'you could have done this better or you need to improve that' - he's never happy!"