Pavlyuchenkova saves two match points to win Strasbourg epic

Dominika Cibulkova was a point from victory but ended up losing to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova after three hours and 35 minutes.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in action   -  Getty Images

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova came from a set down and saved two match points to defeat Dominika Cibulkova in a marathon Internationaux de Strasbourg final that proved the longest match of the WTA season.

A tight encounter that lasted three hours and 35 minutes finished 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (8-6) to Pavlyuchenkova, who avoided a break of serve while 5-4 down in the third set before winning a tie-break that swung back and forth.

Cibulkova suffered the first break in the opening set but hit straight back to force a tie-break in which she won five successive points to come out on top and seize the advantage.

The Slovakian stopped Pavlyuchenkova serving out the second set and later saved two set points, but this time it was her turn to lose five points on the trot as the match went to a decider.

Both players showed incredible desire in the final set with gritty rallies proving frequent, but it was Pavlyuchenkova who sealed a 12th career title, coming out on top after Cibulkova failed to convert her two opportunities to triumph.