Match Preview: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Caroline Garcia

This will be the first semifinal on court in Monterrey later today and these two will be fighting for their first final of the season. Pavlyuchenkova has had two straight setters and one very tough three setters on the way to the semifinal and Garcia has also had one three setter and two straight setters. Pavlyuchenkova is heading in to this match as the slight favourite but there is not much separating the two in the odds.

Recent Form 

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova hasn’t been posting the best results this year after a very good Australian Open swing. The middle east swing was very disappointing as she suffered a second round loss to Dominika Cibulkova in Doha and a first round loss to Ons Jabeur in Dubai. She played well in Indian Wells as she reached the quarterfinals before falling to Svetlana Kuznetsova but failed to back that up as she went down to Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the third round of Miami. Caroline Garcia also hasn’t had a good time so far this year as she suffered three consecutive second round losses after the Australian Open in Taipei, Doha and Dubai to Mandy Minella, Karolina Pliskova and Monica Puig respectively. She got a great win over Johanna Konta in Indian Wells before falling to Kuznetsova in the fourth round and then fell to Shuai Peng in the Miami second round.

Monterrey Form 

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is a regular in Monterrey as she has played here five times since 2010. Her best results came in 2010, 2011, 2013 when she won the tournament with wins over Daniela Hantuchova, Jelena Jankovic and Angelique Kerber in the finals. Her worst result came last year when she fell in the first round to Pauline Parmentier, and even though that’s a disappointing it does mean she had no pressure to defend points this year. Caroline Garcia has played here for the past two years and has posted good results both times she’s attended. The first time she played in 2015 she fell in the final to Timea Bacsinszky and in 2016 she fell in the semifinals to Heather Watson. This means she has defended all her points already and now she is playing without much pressure.

Head to Head Record

These two have played each other twice before, both times on hard courts, but they haven’t played since 2014. Their first match came at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won the first round encounter 6-0, 6-3. This was a very convincing and easy win for the Russian but Caroline Garcia was younger and more unestablished at that point in her career so I think that loss is excusable. It was also in front of Pavlyuchenkova’s home crowd and that may have played a part in the loss. Their other loss came in the second round of the 2014 BNP Paribas Open and Pavlyuchenkova won that one 6-4, 7-5. I think this match gives us more of an accurate reading as to how their games match up against each other and it shows it was a tough win. I think that this will be on both of their minds heading in to the semifinal but Garcia has great mental strength so it might have no affect on her on court.

Prediction

This match will be very hard fought for by both women and it will be a competitive, entertaining and engaging match. Both players will come out with minimal nerves and will be playing some good tennis from the moment they come out on court. Pavlyuchenkova will get out to a good start and break early to lead 3-0 but then Garcia will get into a rhythm. She will start hitting winners and break back before breaking again to take the set. Garcia will carry that momentum into the second set and she will go up a break. She will have the opportunity to serve for the match at 5-4 but will tighten up and Pavlyuchenkova will win the next three straight games to take the match. In the the third set they will be level until around 3-3 and then Pavlyuchenkova will tighten up, Garcia will take advantage and win the next three straight games to take the 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 win.

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