RABAT, Morocco – No.1 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had to tamp down a late comeback effort from Ekaterina Makarova to make it through to the quarterfinals at the Grand Prix De SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem.
Makarova clawed her way back from a break down in the second set and was within two points of sending the match into a third, but Pavlychenkova found the way to close it out and win 6-2, 7-5.
“It happens a lot when the girls are down in the score and they see they have nothing to lose so they are going for it more,” Pavlyuchenkova explained in her post-match interview.
“I dropped a little bit my concentration and started to play more passive instead of aggressive. But finally I found my way back.”
The top-seeded Russian was flying through the gears in a routine opening set – she broke Makarova twice and had a pair of chances to extend that lead to three. She was serving strongly and keeping her compatriot under pressure, and broke early in the second to go up 3-1.
But things got a bit more complicated from there as Makarova came storming back to put herself within two points of sending the match into a deciding set.
After finding herself down 3-5 and taking an on-court coaching break, Pavlyuchenkova hit the reset button, reeling off four games in a row to halt Makarova’s comeback efforts and move into the Rabat quarterfinals.
“I felt very good today, better than yesterday. I think it’s my second match on clay now and it’s going better,” Pavlyuchenkova said. “I knew she was a tough opponent so I was ready since the first point. Conditions here are slightly different during the daytime but I’m happy with the win.”
Pavlyuchenkova will take on No.7 seed Lauren Davis for a spot in the semifinals.