Following a fantastic week for both competitors, Sara Errani and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will meet in the finals of the GDF Suez Open in Paris for an opportunity to clinch the biggest title victory in their respective careers. The head-to-head stands at 1-0 for Pavlyuchenkova, who defeated Errani in a Fed Cup tie in 2011.
Italian No. 1 Sara Errani had to battle through a gruelling contest against Alize Cornet to reach the Paris Open final. She defeated the French No.1 in a three-hour, two-minute marathon that ended 7-6(3) 3-6 7-6(5). Cornet lost the first set in a tiebreaker in 69 minutes but recovered to take an easy second set to send the match into a decider. Once into their second tiebreak of the match Cornet managed to even the score at 5-5 but lost the following two points to surrender the match to Errani.
“I was very happy to win the semifinal today, but I’m sorry to have to withdraw from the doubles,” Errani said. “But it was impossible for me. So that was the decision. I hope to recover for tomorrow.”
Looking ahead to her final against Pavlyuchenkova, Errani is excited yet cautious of her opponent, who is coming into this match on the heels of an outstanding upset over Maria Sharapova.
“I know Pavlyuchenkova well,” Errani said. “She’s a very good player. Today she beat Maria playing incredible tennis, serving very well and fighting a lot on the court. I saw their match today. “It will be tough. I have to be fully ready and playing well for tomorrow.”
Pavlyuchenkova earned an even bigger win than her opponent tomorrow afternoon, as she toppled world No. 5 Maria Sharapova in stunning fashion to reach the biggest final of her career. It was a fantastic addition to her already extraordinary week, where she defeated Carla Suárez Navarro and No.4 seed Angelique Kerber in the last two rounds, before ousting Sharapova.
“I’m very happy with my performance today,” Pavlyuchenkova said. “Maria’s so tough and she’s always fighting until the end, so I’m happy I stuck with my game and kept fighting out there as well. I had to serve well – I had no choice today, because Maria has one of the best returns on the tour. We played a few years ago and she broke me a lot of times so that was a key for her to win again today, and I just tried to serve the best I could today. It was working well, so I’m very happy with it.”
Both of these competitors are one win away from the biggest title win of their respective careers. Pavlyuchenkova has only been to one Premier-level final before, at Brisbane last year where she lost to Serena Williams. She is 5-3 in her career in WTA finals, the rest of those titles and finals all coming at International-level tournaments. Errani has been to three finals before at the Premier level or above – Roland Garros in 2012, the Paris Open and Dubai in 2013 . She is 7-7 overall in WTA finals overall.
Prediction: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Three Sets