WTA Tour

Gavrilova, Pavlyuchenkova sweep into Hong Kong final

Daria Gavrilova (Getty Images)
Daria Gavrilova (Getty Images)

Hong Kong - Daria Gavrilova produced her best performance of the week to cruise into the Hong Kong Open final with a 6-0, 7-5 defeat of Jennifer Brady on Saturday.

She will face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Sunday's final after the Russian sixth seed also completed a comfortable win, 6-3, 6-4 against China's Wang Qiang in the second semi-final.

Naturalised Australian seventh seed Gavrilova, who was born in Moscow, sped through the first set in 22 minutes, dropping just four points on her own serve as her American opponent looked overawed in her first WTA Tour semi-final.

"I feel like today was my best performance since I've been in Asia," said a delighted world number 22 Gavrilova, who broke the American's serve seven times on the way to a dominant win.

Pavlyuchenkova had it slightly tougher against the 48th-ranked Wang, being broken three times on her own serve.

But the Russian ranked 21 always had enough firepower to subdue China's number three, who has been suffering with a flu-type virus all week.

"I played Wang in Tokyo recently and came through a tough match 6-2 in the third," said Pavlyuchenkova.

"So I was pleased to get it done in two sets today in tricky conditions with the wind."

It was Brady who was blown away by Gavrilova in the first set as the searing heat of earlier in the week gave way to a blustery autumnal day, the world number 70 winning just 11 points in the first set.

Gavrilova's stuttering quarter-final win against world 155 Lizette Cabrera on Friday night had been liberally sprinkled with 16 double faults and 20 unforced errors in the second set alone.

The player nicknamed Dasha had promised to practise her serve and her Saturday morning's work paid off handsomely as she gave away only two double faults in the match.

"I did hit a lot more second serves today than usual (in practice)," she admitted.

"I just made it more clear in my head where I was going to hit the second serve, actually making a smaller target than just hitting it anywhere."

Gavrilova finished the contest with the shot of the day, a sliced backhand dropshot winner from the baseline on match point.

"I'm really excited to be in the final here," she said in her third appearance at the Hong Kong Open.

"I've reached the quarters, the semis and now the final."

The Australian is now eyeing a second WTA title after winning her maiden tour crown at New Haven in August on the eve of the US Open.

But Sunday's final would be a tough battle, predicted Pavlyuchenkova.

"I think the last time we played each other was Moscow last year in the quarter-finals," said Pavlyuchenkova.

"I was a really tough three-set match and I thought I wasn't fit enough for that one.

"Tomorrow will be a different match as there it was indoors and she seems in really good shape here.

"She's really going well, grinding well. But I will try to stay aggressive and play my game tomorrow."

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