Pavlyuchenkova beats Flipkens, plays Friedsam in Linz final
LINZ, Austria — Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova defeated Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 Saturday to set up a final against Anna-Lena Friedsam at the Generali Ladies.
The seventh-seeded Russian is eyeing her eighth WTA title and first of the season, while Friedsam will appear in her maiden final.
The 118th-ranked German beat Johanna Larsson of Sweden 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 in the first semifinal.
"That’s super great, I am very proud of myself," Friedsam said.
Pavlyuchenkova, who was runner-up in Washington in August and is 7-4 in career finals, has never played Friedsam before.
The 29th-ranked Pavlyuchenkova, who was the only seeded player to make it beyond the second round of the Austrian indoor event, looked headed for a routine victory when leading Flipkens 6-3, 3-0.
But after getting treatment for right shoulder problems, Flipkens won the next seven games to take the second set and a 1-0 lead in the last. Her Russian opponent then regained control of the match.
"It was a little bit tricky. It wasn’t easy," Pavlyuchenkova said about Flipkens’ comeback after the medical timeout.
Flipkens, who’s ranked 110th, played in her first event after a wrist injury had sidelined her since the U.S. Open.
Friedsam didn’t concede a break point until leading 4-2 in the second set against Larsson but then lost five games in a row. She trailed 5-3 in the final set but took the last four games to close out the win.
"I don’t know how I won that match," Friedsam said. "Nerves played a role. We both had our chances but we didn’t take them."
Friedsam was ranked a career-high 73rd in July when she sprained her ankle and was out for six weeks. She failed to win another match until reaching the quarterfinals in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, two weeks ago.
The 59th-ranked Larsson won her maiden WTA title in Bastad, Sweden, in July.