The packed field at the Auckland Open meant that there would be a few blockbuster matches, and this is one of them. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Julia Goerges had met for four times during their careers, with both of them being former top 20 players. They split their four meetings in the past, with the German triumphing in the matches on clay, and the Russian winning all the matches on hard courts. This match was meant to be played yesterday, but as the last match on Centre Court, it was postponed to today before it even started as rain halted play early in the evening.
Goerges successfully completed the upset in just under an hour and a half, with her game looking very solid and consistent during the whole match. Whereas, Pavlyuchenkova was very disappointing throughout the match, failing to step up her game at the crucial moments.
Tight start to the set
The start to the match gave us a hint that the match would be a tight one as both players suffered nervy starts to their opening service game. After a hold to 30 for Goerges, Pavlyuchenkova had to save three break points to hold serve in a marathon 15-point game. Goerges failed to convert another two break point opportunities in her next return game, allowing the Russian to hold her service game under pressure once again. Pavlyuchenkova finally earned her first break point opportunity at 3-3 but failed to convert it after Goerges put in a strong serve down the tee which Pavlyuchenkova failed to get a return over the net. That miss proved costly for the Russian as she was immediately broken in the next game for the first service break in the match, giving the German a chance to serve out the first set. Showing some nerves while serving out the set, Goerges eventually completed the job, having to save another two break points to do so. It was a poor set from the Russian, who failed to convert all four of her break point opportunities. However, credits to the German as she played a near-perfect set, with her game looking very solid.
Goerges gets early advantage
Pavlyuchenkova once again had the chance to go up a break but missed her break point opportunity once again. Similar to the first set, the missed opportunity would be rued by Pavlyuchenkova as she was broken in the next game after some uncharacteristic groundstrokes. The 25-year-old had a great chance to break back immediately but was yet again ineffective on the break points. Four consecutive holds to love games followed, and with Pavlyuchenkova unable to make any breakthrough on the Goerges’ serve, the German soon got to a 5-3 lead. There, Pavlyuchenkova showed nerves of steel when she saved a total of three match points while serving to stay in the match. It did not matter though as Goerges served out the match to love with a few strong serves to seal up the upset in straight sets and get her first win over the Russian on a hard court.
Next up for Goerges
Goerges would play her second round match later in the evening against Naomi Broady, who also won her first round match today. The pair has not met before in their careers, and Goerges would be the favourite to progress to the quarterfinals.
Note: This article was written before Goerges started her match against Naomi Broady. After this article was posted, the match was already over, with Goerges clinching a place in the quarterfinals with a straight sets victory.