The UTS2 Women’s semifinals wrapped up today as the first-ever female event. Two sweeps later, Cornet and Pavlyuchenkova advance to the finals.
Match #1: The Volcano (Alize Cornet) def. The Prodigy (Brenda Fruhirtova) 3-0
As I explained yesterday in Lob and Smash’s UTS2 Women’s Preview, the 13-year-old Fruhvirtova has the power and court coverage to play with her WTA opponents but won’t be able to get past her semifinal opponent, Cornet, due to her lack of experience. Cornet’s many years of playing professionally have given her the innate ability to settle in and push through different situations. This, paired with her +40 second Gold Card advantage, allowed the veteran to advance to the UTS2 finals convincingly.
Fruhvirtova has a ton to be proud of despite her loss. She put together a string of beautiful groundstrokes in the third quarter and was able to take a 9-8 lead as a result before losing the deciding point at 12-all. Although she couldn’t close it out to force a decisive fourth quarter, her fight was on display. A few more points her way here and there and we could be seeing a much different match result.
Cornet will face the winner of Ons Jabeur and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova tomorrow for the UTS2 women’s title.
Match #2: The Thunder (Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova) def. The Warrior (Ons Jabeur) 3-0
Pavlyuchenkova came out firing against Jabeur and didn’t even need a final set to advance to the finals. In a match that would surely be decided by pure power, she burst out offensively from the very first point of the match. Jabeur held her own in the first quarter, narrowly losing it 16-14.
From there, however, she struggled to keep up with Pavlyunchenkova’s aggression on the ground and lost the final two quarters 16-10 and 15-10. It was a surprising turn given that Jabeur’s biggest strength is her effortless power from the ground. She came out tentative and couldn’t get anything going in the final two quarters; it ultimately lost her the match and a shot at the UTS crown.
Finals Preview and Prediction
Women’s Final: The Volcano (Alize Cornet) vs The Thunder (Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova)
This is definitely going to be a tight match. Both players have shown that their power from the ground is virtually devastating to their opponents; it’ll be key for them to jump out quickly and efficiently to gain the momentum before the match turns into a shootout.
With my personal pick out of contention, it’s going to be Pavlyuchenkova who will come out on top as the first-ever women’s UTS champion. The two finalists are neck-and-neck in terms of point differential (12 for Cornet, 13 for Pavlyuchenkova) and total points scored (45 and 47) and have played a similar style in their opening matches.
Pavlyunchenkova played a better match overall and was more consistent throughout her win. Her groundstrokes were powerful and had great placement; she also won a few points off of perfectly-timed drop shots. She looks to be the more in-tune player and will come out with a tight win for the title.
The UTS2 Women’s Final begins tomorrow, August 2nd.