The final of the 22nd Open GDF Suez takes place at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin on Sunday between Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Sara Errani.
My sole best bet on Saturday was a comfortable winner, as Pavlyuchenkova stunned Maria Sharapova and in the process took the match way past the 19.5 total games mark.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 1.55 vs Sara Errani 2.42 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 14.35
This is Nastia’s first ever appearance in a Premier level final on the WTA Tour and she must fancy her chances of grabbing this title now after taking down Sharapova.
Standing in her way is the courageous Italian Errani, who just about overcame an equally brave Alize Cornet on Saturday night in a match that went the full distance.
But that clash is surely likely to take its toll on Errani in today’s match, which is a match that is very much on the racquet of A-Pavs.
When Nastia starts to serve well to complement her heavy groundstrokes she can be a force to be reckoned with, as Sharapova found out and as Errani knows, having ended up on the losing side in her only previous encounter with the Russian.
Pavlyuchenkova ran out a narrow winner on indoor hard in the fourth rubber of a 5-0 Fed Cup victory for Russia over Italy back in 2011 and I expect this to be a tight match again today.
Pavs isn’t exactly coming into this match fresh either, with all of her matches in Paris this week going the full three sets and she’s played five more sets than Errani to reach this championship match.
The Italian is also relatively inexperienced at this stage of Premier level events, having never won a Premier title and today’s encounter with Pavs will be just her second foray into a championship clash, having lost out to Petra Kvitova in Dubai last year in her only previous final at this level.
She has made a Grand Slam final of course and overall she’s 7-7 in her 14 championship matches at International level and upwards, but this will be just her second on indoor hard after losing to Mona Barthel here 12 months ago.
Pavs’ record in finals at International level and higher reads five wins to three losses and this will be her first final on indoor hard.
The matchup is the classic one of the big-hitting aggressor taking the game to a wily, counter-puncher, who will aim to draw the mistakes out of Nastia’s game and the Russian won’t want to be involved in many long rallies here.
It’ll be first strike tennis from Pavs and if she’s on form on Sunday that approach should land her the title, but she looks a little on the short side at 1.55 and I prefer either the over 9.5 games in set one at 2.18 or the over 21.5 total games at 1.90.
You know what you’ll get from Errani, which is a high first serve percentage and very few unforced errors, but Pavs is tougher to predict, as her level tends to vary markedly during her matches and while I think she is the most likely winner I prefer the much bigger price about the overs.
Back over 21.5 total games at 1.90