Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Magdalena Rybarikova will meet today in the final of this year’s Citi Open
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Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had held a 1-3 head to head record against Vania King prior to Friday’s semi-finals at the Citi Open, but she rose to the occasion to clinch a dramatic 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 success. The top seed’s result was all the more impressive given that she’d struggled with the heat here in Washington, and required a medical timeout and frequently took to the shade in between points.
“It's very emotional in tennis. It's physical, it's mental,” said the Russian. “When you have heat illness, you can't really play your best tennis. I was just trying to go and finish the point early.” Whilst the Russian still had to fight for three sets, she minimised the impact of this by keeping points short with an effective attacking approach.
Pavlyuchenkova’s opponent in the final will be Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova. Few would have backed Rybarikova to get this far at the start of the week, but the world No. 102 has played some outstanding tennis. Following her convincing 6-3, 6-3 dismissal of third seed Sloane Stephens, Rybarikova still hasn’t dropped a set all week.
It looks like this final could be a thriller. Pavlyuchenkova has struggled with the heat but has also demonstrated plenty of qualities that would make her a worthy champion. Surprisingly though, it’s Rybarikova who seems to be playing better tennis. After the week we’ve had in Washington, it wouldn’t be a shock if Rybarikova were to win this match in straight sets.