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Tennis: Pavlyuchenkova wins first clay title

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro 7-5, 6-2 on Saturday to win the Portugal Open and claim her first trophy on clay.

The third-seeded champion, coached by former Swiss great Martina Hingis, earned the fifth title of her career while leaving her opponent winless from five finals.

One of those was at the same venue a year ago, when Suarez Navarro went down to Kaia Kanepi, an opponent she beat in the semi-finals this week.

Pavlyuchenkova has been working with Hingis officially for just a few weeks and the game style and fighting determination of Switzerland's five-time Grand Slam champion may be rubbing off on the 21-year-old right-hander.

"She was really happy with the win," said Pavlyuchenkova of her mentor's first win as a coach.

The winner was less than thrilled with a slow start to her own game.

"I was pissed with the way I started. But then I relaxed, and started waiting for my chances after she had pinned me to the baseline.

"I was trying to dictate and wait for the right moment. It worked at the end."

Pavlyuchenkova was flying straight to Spain later Saturday for a first-round start at the Madrid Masters against world number three Victoria Azarenka, who has not played for more than a month due to injury and has yet to step on to clay.

"It's a really tough draw, but for both of us. She's not played for a while and I already have some events on clay.

"I can't say what will happen but I'll try my best. I won't be scared, that's for sure. I'll just go out there and try to make her play."

Pavlyuchenkova now owns five career titles, including two this season after winning the Monterrey event for a third time.

In the men's event, Stanislas Wawrinka ended the run of Spanish qualifier Pablo Carreno-Busta as the second seed posted a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory to reach the final.

The Swiss, who lost at the semi-final stage a year ago on his debut against Juan Martin del Potro, will face off against the winner from top seed David Ferrer of Spain or Italian third seed Andreas Seppi.

Wawrinka was pleased to reach his second final of the season after losing to Ferrer in Buenos Aires in February.

The number 16 complained to the chair umpire near the end of the second set over what he said was coaching of his 228th-ranked, 21-year-old opponent.

The issue was never truly resolved, but the experienced Wawrinka got on with the job as he lost the second set but dominated in the third to take the win, his 19th of the season.

"It was not the first time, it happened for him against (Fabio) Fognini (quarter-finals).

"He and his coach were speaking a lot during the match.

"That's not what it should be like, it's not in the rules. That's why I spoke to the chair."

Carreno-Busta has had a solid run on the lower-level Futures and Challenger circuits and has won an amazing 50 matches already this season.

He was playing his first semi-final at the ATP level at his fourth tour-level event.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130504/tennis-pavlyuchenkova-wins-first-clay-title-0