Gavrilova surges to Hong Kong final
Daria Gavrilova is aiming to claim her second career title in Hong Kong.
Daria Gavrilova will compete for a second 2017 title after a 6-0 7-5 win over American Jennifer Brady in the semifinals of the Hong Kong Open.
Gavrilova, the No.7 seed, faces No.6 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final.
The Russian advanced with a 6-3 6-4 win over China’s Wang Qiang.
Pavlyuchenkova was broken while serving for the match but came back in the next game to break back and claim victory in an hour and a quarter.
Gavrilova last lifted a trophy in New Haven, Connecticut, the week before the US Open. She won her only previous meeting with fellow Russian-born player Pavlyuchenkova a year ago in Moscow.
Saturday’s semifinals were played under the first cloudy skies of the week, with winds picking up as tropical storm Khanun crossed the South China Sea well south of the city.
But the conditions did not trouble Gavrilova.
“Today I played my best match of the Asian tour. I hit the ball well and went for my shots.
“I was clear in my head about my game. I felt a lot better today than last night (her three-set quarter-final win over fellow Australian Lizette Cabrera).
“I was not happy with my performance then and I was able to improve today.”
Gavrilova set up three set points with an ace and took the opening set on her second as 70th-ranked Brady failed to make an impression.
“I was making a lot of balls and maybe making her go more for her shots and make more errors,” Gavrilova said.
The underdog finally made it onto the scoreboard to start the second set with her first ace, but Gavrilova pulled straight back to work with a break for 2-1.
She was broken back in the eighth game for 4-4 as the set briefly returned to level-pegging.
But Gavrilova used her experience to take the upper hand, breaking Brady for 5-4 before dropping serve again. She secured another break for 6-5.
Australia’s top-ranked woman came through, sending a forehand winner into the far corner for three match points and finishing off the afternoon with a successful drop shot.
Gavrilova won her only previous meeting with fellow Russian-born player Pavlyuchenkova a year ago in Moscow, while beating Wang at Wimbledon in 2016.
Gavrilova finished in 82 minutes, breaking Brady six times.
“I’m very glad to be in the final,” Gavrilova said.
“I wish we could play now since it is set to rain on Sunday – but that’s not going to happen.
“I’ll go out there and try to win my second title of the season.”