German tennis player Angelique Kerber returns the ball to Spanish Carla Suarez Navarro during their semifinal match at Monterrey Tennis Open tournament, in Monterrey, Mexico. EPA
After defeating Caroline Garciain the semifinal match at Monterrey Tennis Open tournament, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (pic) will face World No one Angelique Kerber in the finals. EPA

MEXICO CITY: World number one Angelique Kerber reached her first WTA final of 2017 but will face a stiff challenge from three-time champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the title match in Monterrey, Mexico.

Germany’s Kerber, a two-time Grand Slam champion who regained the world number one ranking in March as American Serena Williams was sidelined by injury, defeated fourth-seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro 7-6 (8/6), 6-1 in Saturday’s semi-finals.

Russia’s Pavlyuchenkova, seeded second behind Kerber, defeated third-seeded Caroline Garcia of France 6-2, 6-4.

Pavlyuchenkova, who lifted the Monterrey trophy in 2010, 2011 and 2013, had Garcia on the run early, mustering 10 break point opportunities and breaking Garcia twice to take the first set.

Pavlyuchenkova then called a trainer to treat her left thigh.

But while Garcia seemed to gain some energy early in the second, she wasn’t able to make a dent in Pavlyuchenkova’s serve and the Russian earned a late break in the second and served out the match to book a fourth Monterrey final.--AFP

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