Top-seeded Sharapova loses in Paris semifinals
Top-seeded Maria Sharapova lost 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the semifinals of the Open GDF Suez in an all-Russian match on Saturday.
Pavlyuchenkova will play third-seeded Sara Errani of Italy or Alize Cornet of France for her first final since the Korea Open in September 2013.
"I knew that I had to serve well because Maria has one of the best returns on the tour, probably," Pavlyuchenkova said. "I remember playing her like three or four years ago, she broke me a lot of times and that was the key for her to win."
In their only previous meeting, Sharapova beat Pavlyuchenkova in August 2010 in Cincinnati.
Sharapova led 3-0 in the opening set but her compatriot broke back in the seventh game. Pavlyuchenkova lost the first set by sending a backhand wide as Sharapova imposed her aggressive game, having a 15-9 edge in winners and winning nine of 10 points at the net.
"I thought I started the match really well but, as the match continued, I stopped doing the things that really helped me in the beginning of the first set," Sharapova said. "I wasn't being aggressive, I wasn't in the court."
Pavlyuchenkova put the four-time Grand Slam champion under pressure in the second set, capitalizing on a double fault and a forehand error to break Sharapova in the opening game. The 26th-ranked Pavlyuchenkova evened the match with a backhand winner.
"She found her spots really well," Sharapova said. "There's not much I could do when she hit those good first serves."
They traded breaks early in the final set. Sharapova lost the match by finishing with two consecutive double faults.
Sharapova made five double faults in the last set with a first-serve 48 percentage.