Published: Mon, October 16, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Gavrilova powers into Hong Kong Open final

Gavrilova powers into Hong Kong Open final

The No.6 seed from Russian Federation beat No.7 seed Daria Gavrilova of Australia, 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (3), in a match that included numerous twists and turns, and finally went down to the wire, ending at 1:00 a.m. local time on Monday morning, after over three hours of play.

Pavlyuchenkova began the match in the best possible way, and she threw in a forehand return victor on break point to grab the head start into this semifinal encounter.

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The Russian advanced on Saturday with a 6-3 6-4 win over China's Wang Qiang. Naturalised Australian seventh seed Gavrilova, who was born in Moscow, sped through the first set in 22 minutes, dropping just four points on her own serve as her American opponent looked overawed in her first WTA Tour semi-final. She got onto the scoreboard with a confidence hold of service before she came out of nowhere to break straight back in the sixth game, prevailing in the longest game of the match as the underdog took advantage of Pavlyuchenkova's inconsistency to return level.

Pavlyuchenkova had three match points in the tiebreaker but needed just one after Gavrilova netted. "I did hit a lot more second serves today than usual (in practice)", she admitted. "But it's the final day, so I knew there is just one match today, so I gave everything I had out there". "I'm really excited to be in the final here", she said in her third appearance at the Hong Kong Open. Finding her stride, Gavrilova took the opener. But Sunday's final would be a tough battle, predicted Pavlyuchenkova. Pavlyuchenkova obtained vengeance after losing her previous match against Gavrilova, which took place past year at the Kremlin Cup, and was another barnburner, lasting over two and a half hours. She's really going well, grinding well.

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