Three-time champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was made to work at the Abierto GNP Seguros, surviving Timea Babos in three sets to face Caroline Garcia for a spot in the final.
WTA Staff

MONTERREY, Mexico - Three-time champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was made to work to reach the semifinals at the Abierto GNP Seguros, surviving a three-set thriller against No.5 seed Timea Babos.

The Russian needed almost two hours to tamp down a late charge from Babos and wrap up the victory, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.

Pavlyuchenkova looked set to cruise after taking the opening set in less than 20 minutes, where she didn't face a break point and covered the court to cut off Babos' angles.

She broke twice to comfortably take the opening set, but Hungary's No.1 didn't wilt away. She kept pace with the three-time champion and found her opening in the penultimate game, attacking Pavlyuchenkova's vulnerable serves to grab the late break and sent the match to a third set.

The pair wrestled for momentum throughout the decider - Babos earned the first break and brought up three more opportunities for a double lead, but Pavlyuchenkova erased the lead to level the match at 3-3. They stayed on serve for until, once again, Pavlyuchenkova took her opportunities on Babos' serve and closed out the match.

"I started to feel the tiredness a little bit - it's been a long and tough trip for me - but I just stayed calm anyhow," Pavlyuchenkova explained her mid-match slump. "Even in the third when I was down and she found her rhythm and her game. She was going for every shot and served amazingly, probably one of the best servers of the women's tour.

"I just stayed calm and played every point and fought til the end. And then I got it in the end."

Up next for Pavlyuchenkova is the No.3 seed Garcia, who saw off Julia Boserup in a comfortable straight sets, triumphing 6-3, 6-2 in just over an hour.