Tennis - Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will take on Angelique Kerber will meet in the finals of the WTA Monterry Open in Mexico on Sunday. The fifth seeded Russian beat Romanian Monica Niculescu 36 62 64 to advance to the finals.
Niculescu is known for her funky style, employing a forehand slice to outfox her opponents and she gave the Russian plenty to think about. Pavlyuchenkova won this title in 2010 and 2011 and has won all her 14 matches in this tournament.
Meanwhile, top seeded Kerber beat third seeded Maria Kirilenko 64 26 62 to also reach the finals. Kerber and Pavlyuchenkova have met only once before with the Russian winning that encounter - earlier this year in Brisbane.
Speaking to the press after her win, Pavlyuchenkova commented, "I didn't know what to expect from Monica really - when you watch her play and when you actually play her is totally different. I couldn't really find my rhythm in the first set.
She was playing very high balls but also hitting this forehand slice, which you never see in tennis, and it's a really tricky shot. So she was mixing the rhythm up. And she was also putting a lot of balls back. It was really frustrating, and I was getting anxious.
But all credit to her, she was playing really well today. "After the first set I calmed myself down and just played my game. It looks like it's easy to play against her from the side, but she's definitely a tough opponent to play.
I'm just happy with myself that I didn't get crazy at the end when she caught up to 4-all. I just controlled my emotions and stayed calm until the end. Finishing the match wasn't easy and I'm very happy I pulled through against her." Kerber commented after her win, "Maria was playing very well tonight - it was a great match.
I started very well. In the second set she played better, and I was having a little bit of problems with my serve, but in the third I just focused on playing my game again and took it point by point until the last one, and that's it. I'm so excited to reach the final here."