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Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova put her best foot forward in the third set to defeat Germany's No. 1-ranked Angelique Kerber 6-4, 2-6, 6-1, winning her fourth title at the Monterrey Open tennis tournament.
The 25-year-old Pavlyuchenkova - who won the tourney in 2010, 2011 and 2013 - gained points by breaking the 29-year-old Kerber's serve in the third and fifth games of the first set on Sunday. She then took advantage of errors committed by the German to break her serve in the 10th game and take the set 6-4.
Kerber recovered, however, with a precise drive, managing to garner 18 winners and forcing the Russian to commit 16 unforced errors to take the second set, breaking Pavlyuchenkova's serve in the third game.
After her serve was broken again a few game later, the Russian threw her racquet down, earning a warning. She seemed furious with herself. She gave up the eighth game without any fight.
But from the first volley of the third set, it was another Pavlyuchenkova - secure and dominant - seeking out the far corners of the court, firing shots to break Kerber's serve in the second game.
The Russian broke the German's serve again in the fourth game, going up 4-0 and then 5-1 but then took the seventh game for the title.
Kerber had a career year in 2016, winning the Australian Open and the US Open, and finishing as the runner-up at Wimbledon. But until Sunday, she had not reached a final in 2017 and had repeatedly lost to players ranked outside the top 10.
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