at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Paris – Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova made it through to the Paris WTA Open final at the expense of her Russian compatriot and top seed Maria Sharapova on Saturday.
Pavlyuchenoka, ranked 26th in the world, ended the 2012 French Open champion's run at the Stade Coubertin 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
The former junior champion will meet the winner of Saturday's other semi-final between Italian Sara Errani and French home hope Alize Cornet.
On the back foot early in the match Pavlyuchenkova was trailing 3-0 then 4-1 before the 22-year-old saved two break points, going on to level after breaking wolrd number five Sharapova's serve for 4-4.
But the opening set evaded her when she produced two unforced errors.
She regrouped and broke Sharapova in the first game of the second set, following up with a second break to level the semi-final.
The pair traded breaks in the deciding set, with Sharapova going on to serve to try and level it at 5-5, but that proved beyond her as she double faulted to hand victory to her fellow Russian.
“I let her regain her confidence,” Sharapova remarked.
The winner, coached by her father after a spell with Martina Hingis, reflected: “The key to the game was the serve.” – Sapa-AFP