The third round of the BNP Paribas Open saw Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova earn a routine victory over Barbora Strycova in straight sets, progressing to the fourth round here for the first time since her first appearance at this event in 2009 when she progressed to the semifinals.
Pavlyuchenkova clinches the first set
Pavlyuchenkova had the perfect start to the match as she came out firing into the match, breaking serve to love in the opening game after she played some excellent offensive tennis to take the advantage and jump out to an early lead. Winning the first six points of the match, it was definitely a great start for Pavlyuchenkova. Nevertheless, Strycova managed to make an immediate reply as she broke straight back with the help of some inconsistent serving by the Russian to return level on serve.
However, there was a third consecutive break of serve as Pavlyuchenkova regained the lead with some great returns. This time, the Russian was able to consolidate the break of serve and extend her lead to two games despite being brought to deuce twice by Strycova, who threatened to break back but was unable to find a break point opportunity. The Czech’s woes continued in the next game as her unforced errors cost her greatly, allowing Pavlyuchenkova to have her third service break of the day to go up a double break advantage and open up a 4-1 lead.
The Russian looked on course to close out the first set as soon as possible as she consolidated the break and extended her lead to 5-1, being just a game away from winning the first set. This was when Strycova started to mount a comeback as she stepped up her game, playing more freely and with the help of a slight slip-up by Pavlyuchenkova, the Czech managed to hold her serve and get one of the breaks back, lessening the deficit to just two games as she managed to win eight of the last nine points. Just at the most crucial moment, Pavlyuchenkova found her strong returns and solid groundstrokes as she broke serve to clinch the first set after 40 minutes.
Pavlyuchenkova runs away with the match
The start of the second set saw both players have nervy service holds, with Pavlyuchenkova coming from 0-30 down to hold serve in the opening game to get off to a great start. It was followed by a tough hold of service for Strycova as Pavlyuchenkova earned two break points, threatening to break serve and take the early lead. However, wobbly groundstrokes and unforced errors caused the Russian to waste both break points and allowed Strycova to narrowly hold onto her service there, preventing herself from falling behind an early deficit. The first break of serve in the second set finally arrived upon us as Pavlyuchenkova came from 30-0 down to make the first breakthrough and take the lead of a set and a break.
However, Strycova made an immediate reply as Pavlyuchenkova’s unforced errors started to make an impact, causing her to lose the advantage as soon as possible after the Czech broke straight back to return on serve. There was a third consecutive break of serve as the Russian maintained her composure to break serve and regain her lead, and this time she was able to consolidate it and extend her lead to three games, being just one game away from the victory. Eventually, Strycova succumbed to the pressure and Pavlyuchenkova triumphed within just 79 minutes to progress to the fourth round.