Kerber to face Pavlyuchenkova for Monterrey title

World No. 1 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.

Angelique Kerber defeated Carla Suarez Navarro.   -  AFP (File Photo)

World No. 1 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 No. 1 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 semifinals. 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.