Pavlyuchenkova faces Gavrilova in Hong Kong Open final

HONG KONG (AP) — Playing in windy conditions, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova defeated Wang Qiang 6-3, 6-4 Saturday to advance to the final of the Hong Kong Open.

The 21st-ranked Russian needed only 1 hour, 14 minutes to overcome Wang, who had been feeling sick all week.

“(It was) very tough as a lot of wind and it was not easy to serve,” said Pavlyuchenkova. “But I’m really happy with the way I handled the pressure and the weather.”

Sixth-seeded Pavlyuchenkova is chasing her third WTA singles title this year and faces Daria Gavrilova of Australia in the final.

The 23-year-old Gavrilova beat Jennifer Brady of the United States 6-0, 7-5 with few errors and whizzing forehand winners down the line.

Brady’s nerves settled in the second set where she finally found some rhythm. Holding her serve for the first time in the match, Brady hit the ball with more pace and broke back to level at 4-4 in the decider.

Seventh-seeded Gavrilova played a superb drop shot to win the match.

“I’m not going to just go out and enjoy (the final),” Gavrilova said. “I’m going to go out there and fight and try and win my second title.”

Top-seeded Elina Svitolina withdrew from the tournament after hurting her right leg in the China Open last week.


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