Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will meet tonight in the final of this year’s Citi Open
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Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova battled through heat exhaustion on Friday in the semi-finals of the Citi Open to defy Vania King in a dramatic clash. The Russian had struggled against King in the past and was on a three-match losing streak against her.
The top seed needed a medical timeout due to the heat, which may have influenced her decision to adopt a more attacking approach. As fate would have it Pavlyuchenkova’s determination to finish points quickly turned out to be a successful strategy.
“I'm pretty proud of myself today,” said Pavlyuchenkova after she wrapped up a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory. “It was really tough conditions and normally, like this year and last year, I would lose this match against King for sure. So that shows the improvement, the big step I've made.”
Later in the day Pavlyuchenkova was joined in the final by Magdalena Rybarikova. The unseeded Slovakian has been playing tremendously well throughout the week, and notched up another big win by cruising past third seed Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-3.
“It's for sure better for my confidence that I beat such players,” remarked the world No. 102, who also defeated second seed Chanelle Scheepers this week. “Sloane has been playing very good all this season, she's a very good player, and also Chanelle has been playing good this season. So it's very good for my confidence.”
Pavlyuchenkova and Rybarikova hold a 1-1 head to head record going into this match, making pre-match predictions even tougher to make. Pavlyuchenkova might appear to be the favourite, but it should be taken into account that she’s struggled with the heat, and that Rybarikova hasn’t lost a set all week. This one could easily go either way.