Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Arantxa Rus advanced into final of the WTA 125 Grand Est Open 88 challenger in Contrexeville. The Russian will play in her first final since the Roland Garros 2021 and hopes for the first tournament victory since WTA 250 title in Strasbourg, won in May 2018. Arantxa Rus reaches out her 4rd final of the season, following the victories in WTA 125 La Bisbal last month and the ITF events in The Hague and Anapoima.

Pavlyuchenkova tops the big prize matches

Apart from the case of performing the best possible run in Contrexeville, some of the players who reached out the quarterfinals stage, were fighting against each other in the correspondence fight for the spot in top 100 of WTA rankings at the end of this week. Monday's new official list will emerge the cut-off for main draw of the US Open Tennis Championships. The members of top 100 can be sure about their direct acceptance into main draw of upcoming Grand Slam, which obviously gets an immense importance for all the players, who still have a chance to break into this field at thelast minute.

Three of the players engaged in this battle where placed in top half of the draw in Grand Est Open 88, which added some an extra meaning for the quarters and semis. The first important match for this case was a quarterfinal against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Sara Errani. The Russian came back into competition after long injury break, missing almost whole the last season. Pavlyuchenkova had some slow start after the comeback in 2023, but seemingly clicked the gear by reaching out the quarterfinals in Roland Garros. The good form on clay is apparently still there, as the former world's number 11 has crushed the experienced Italian with a score 6-1 6-0.

Tereza Martincova was the third player in contention for the US Open main draw entrance, apart from Pavlyuchenkova and Errani. The Czech has also made her job done in dominant style, winning over Anna Lena Friedsam by 6-1 6-1. It was second German player seeded in Grand Est Open 88, who got eliminated by Martincova, as Tatjana Maria came up short to the Czech in the opening round, also losing in straight sets.

With all the circumstances under the hood, the semifinal between Pavlyuchenkova and Martincova was definitely the match with for a big stake. It was an even battle from the start with confident holds from both till the score 2-2, when Pavlyuchenkova raised up the pace to run away with a score. The Russian won 5 games in a row, taking the opening set by 6-2 and moving up into break lead after opening game of second set. Unfortunately, it was the end of a battle, as the Czech needed to pull out due to an injury. The Russian moved up into 96 place in live rankings, which practically assures her to be a main draw participant in New York at the end of August.

Rus denies Ferro in the semis

Arantxa Rus, who is well-known from being a successful player at the level of challengers and ITF events, adds another appearance in the WTA 125 event final to her collection. Rus was not involved into the ranking battle described above, as she is sure to be a top 100 player and earns a sufficient advance to at least 71th place regardless of the outcome of final match. Rus has overcome the German, Eva Lys in the quarterfinals, after winning in straight sets by 6-4 6-4. The match was a tight battle, as Lys was leading in both sets by a break, the Dutch was more efficient in the decisive moments, though. The last game of opening set was a highlight, as Rus broke her opponent to clinch the set after converting 9th breakpoint after 10 deuces.

Fiona Ferro was the opponent of Rus in semifinals. The last standing French in the draw made it into semis after performing a notable upset over the second seed of the event, eliminating Cristina Bucsa with one-sided score 6-2 6-2. The hopes of home crowd to cheer on their representative in the final got denied by Rus though, as the Dutch defeated Ferro in straight sets on Saturday, winning by 6-2 7-5.