Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova defeated Maria Sharapova 4-6 6-3 6-4 in the semifinals of the Open GDF Suez in Paris.
Sharapova had been playing well in Paris and started today’s match with the same form. She served well and found corners and angles at will. It looked like it was going to be one-way traffic again for the tournament’s top seed. However, when Sharapova was unable to break the Pavlyuchenkova serve in the 6th game of the first set after holding break points, things began to shift. She was able to close out that set but you could sense the match was going to get tight.
And tight it did. For the first time this week, Sharapova was challenged and she did not look like she was ready for it.
Of the two Russians, Pavlyuchenkova was the one with the reputation of losing her way in a match but it was Sharapova who was out of sorts as it grew on. I can’t believe I’m about to type this but here goes: Pavlyuchenkova’s consistency was what won her that semifinal. No wild misses today as she dictated from behind the baseline, with her serve and forehand, with great accuracy. It rattled Sharapova who is used to being the one on offense, so much so that the she double faulted twice to hand over the spot in the finals.
Pavlyuchenkova will play in her 2nd WTA Premier final against Sara Errnai who defeated Alizé Cornet in the other semifinal.
Photo by Glenn Gervot