Arantxa Rus has won the WTA 125 Grand Est Open 88 challenger in Contrexeville. The Dutch has defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Sunday's final, winning in straight sets by 6-3 6-3. It's the second challenger title and 4th tournament's victory in this season for Rus, who won all out of her last 15 matches played on clay, taking 3 consecutive titles in the process. The successful run of the Dutch has started in June during the WTA 125 challenger in La Bisbal. Just a few days after taking part in the Wimbledon Championships, Rus came back on clay to win the ITF tournament in The Hague and turned out to be the best player in Contrexeville this week as well.
Despite an impressive run of form, the Dutch was not a pre-match favorite ahead of the final clash, as Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was rated quite higher, with an odd 1.63. Rus could approach the match against the current Roland Garros quarterfinalist with good hopes though, as she won the latest meeting between each other, defeating the Russian in straight sets during the ITF in Zaragoza, three months ago.
Efficiency was the key for the title
The similar story happened today, as Rus was on the front foot in both sets played this afternoon. Pavlyuchenkova could gain early break advantage, as she created two breakpoints in the opening game, but the Dutch cleared the danger and was the first one to break her opponent in 6th game, which occured to be decisive for the result of opening set. Rus played with a good confidence from the start of second set, while moving up into 2-0 lead. Pavlyuchenkova did not give up though, as she managed to break back and got a chance to take the lead, while creating another breakpoint in 6th game. Rus performed a crucial hold there and won all the following games to clinch the victory. It was a great display of efficiency from the Dutch, who was clinical during the decisive moments of both sets, which helped her to secure the title after just 80 minutes of play.
The new champion of Grand Est Open 88 gained 24 places in the WTA rankings to move up into 62th place, which is just one spot away for her career's highest rank. Despite coming up short in the final, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova have important reasons to be satisfied with her run in Contrexeville. The Russian came back into top 100 of the rankings, which assured her to be a participant in main draw of the upcoming US Open Tennis Championships. Pavlyuchenkova prevailed in a tight battle between a few players, who had hopes of reaching out the top 100 with the end of this week, just before the deadline of the main draw's cut-off for the Grand Slam in New York. Whole the story was described yesterday in the recap of quarters and semifinals.