ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova delighted the local crowd at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy with her hard-fought win over Alize Cornet.
Coming into the tournament fresh from a stellar run at the Australian Open, where she reached the quarterfinals, Pavlyuchenkova continued her momentum to win 7-5, 7-6(4).
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Taking on Ostapenko on Sibur Arena, Pavlyuchenkova rained down 36 winners, offsetting her 31 unforced errors and putting in solid service numbers with 70% of first serves in.
Pavlyuchenkova made a strong start to the match, breaking in the first game and backing it to extend her lead at 4-1. But Cornet fought her way back into it, getting both breaks back to level the score at 4-4. Finally, it was Pavlyuchenkova who broke through at the decisive moment at 6-5, sealing the rollercoaster opening set after 50 minutes.
The second set was just as tightly contested as the first, with both players trading trading breaks six times in total. Pavlyuchenkova twice had to fight her way back from a deficit, at 0-2 and again at 1-3 in order to stay within touching distance, and turned the tables later on to get ahead 4-3 before Cornet came roaring back.
With both players level, a 17-shot rally finally brought up the tiebreaker. Pavlyuchenkova quickly pulled away with the minibreak to lead 3-1, and then reeled off the last three points in a row to put an end to the match after just over two hours on court.
Up next, Pavlyuchenkova will play a former St. Petersburg champion in the next round: either Kristina Mladenovic, who lifted the trophy here in 2017, or Jelena Ostapenko who triumphed in 2015 when the tournament was at the ITF level.
More to follow...