PARIS (AP) — Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is making up for lost time at the age of 22. The Russian looked like a safe bet to become a top 10 player when she cracked the top 50 in 2008 and broke into the top 20 two years later.
Since reaching a career-high No. 13 ranking in July 2011, Pavlyuchenkova has struggled to fulfill her potential.
She might have put her career back on track by defeating third-seeded Sara Errani of Italy 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 Sunday in the final of the Open GDF Suez for her sixth career title.
"Definitely, now I feel more mature," Pavlyuchenkova said. "My mentality is a little bit different. Last year or a few years ago, I would lose here in the first round, for sure."
Pavlyuchenkova captured her first title of the season and her first since winning the Portugal Open in May 2013.
The unseeded Russian dictated the points, making 48 winners to 18 for Errani.
Errani won seven straight games to rally from a 3-1 deficit in the first set and lead 2-0 in the second. But Pavlyuchenkova responded by also winning seven straight games to even the match and lead 1-0 in the third.
In the final set, Pavlyuchenkova hit a backhand return winner to break for a 5-3 lead and sealed the victory with a forehand winner.
"That was a very mental match," Pavlyuchenkova said. "That gives me a bit of confidence. But I still need to work harder. That was a fantastic week, but I have to keep it going. I hope my level will be a bit more consistent and that I will keep this level."
Pavlyuchenkova won all her matches at this tournament in three sets. She was coached for a brief period last year by Martina Hingis before resuming her partnership with her dad, Sergey.
"He was my first coach, so he taught me everything I'm doing now," Pavlyuchenkova said. "And he was always there for me, even when I had other coaches. He never let me down."
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