Pavlyuchenkova overcomes controversy and a thriller to win UTS2 Final

The UTS2 Women’s Final has concluded. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova took down Alize Cornet in a thrilling sudden-death matchup.

FINAL: The Thunder (Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova) def. The Volcano (Alize Cornet) 3-2

This was truly a fantastic match from both players. Each displayed a flurry of powerful groundstrokes, pinpoint accurate serves, and touch around the net. From start to finish, it was a tossup with no clear winner in sight, even after Pavlyuchenkova took the opening two quarters.

Pavlyuchenkova got off to a hot start during the first quarter winning it SCORE. She followed that up with a clutch 13-12 second quarter victory that didn’t come without its fair share of controversy.

As the seconds ticked down with the score tied at 12-all, Cornet still hadn’t put her “+40 second” Gold Card into use yet for the quarter. She pushed a forehand long just as time expired and quickly put up her hand to use the card. The umpire, however, said the point hadn’t ended before the time had run out (Cornet’s ball hadn’t hit the ground out yet), therefore she wasn’t permitted to use her card to extend the quarter.

“How can I use my gold card if I’m still playing?” She said right after the controversial point had ended.

Cornet eventually conceded the quarter loss and headed into the decisive third, seemingly a little frustrated. She was able to harbor those feelings and turn it into her best quarter of the match, making it 14-11 after her forehand cross-court winner hit the backstop just as time expired.

She continued her momentum into the fourth quarter and quickly went up 8-4 before using her “Serve and Volley” opponent card (opponent must serve and volley on the point) beautifully to make it 9-4.

Up 11-7 with 2:30 to play, Cornet activated her “Next Point X2” Card for the following two points in order to give herself a sizeable cushion to secure the quarter win. Pavlyuchenkova, however, evaporated her advantage with a fiery down-the-line backhand. Cornet took that shot to the heart and ripped off five straight points to win the quarter 16-9.

Sudden death was no less than incredible. Pavlyuchenkova saved a match point on a few key groundstrokes and grabbed the next point. She fought off a tough serve by Cornet with a vicious forehand to get herself on the offensive. She took the point and the title a few shots later with another roped forehand that was returned long by Cornet.

UTS2 Women’s: Final Thoughts

It was a great two days overall by the four competitors each displayed great fight and skill throughout their matches, even those who took tough losses (Fruhvirtova and Jabeur). The only negative point that comes from this is that there weren’t enough competitors! A two-week event would’ve been great alongside the men (logistical problems aside) featuring a few more of the game’s established stars and upcoming greats.

The WTA relaunches tomorrow with the first round of the Palermo Ladies Open; it’s the first main event since tennis’ lockdown in March.