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By Erik Gudris

Suarez Navarro Portugal (May 3, 2013) -- Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro used her masterful one-handed backhand to sweep past defending champion Kaia Kanepi in the Portugal Open semifinals.

In what was a rematch of last year's close fought finals, it was Suarez Navarro who looked the fresher of the two despite a tight first set. Suarez Navarro earned an early break to go up 4-3 only to drop serve in the next game.

But the Spanish No. 1 recovered as she broke Kanepi right back and then went on to serve out the set 6-4.

Suarez Navarro then broke Kanepi to open the second set. With an ace, Suarez Navarro secured a 2-0 lead and after that was never really troubled by the Estonian who began to spray shots long or into the net. Kanepi later double faulted when down 0-40 to give Suarez Navarro a 4-1 lead and that more or less sealed her fate.

Suarez Navarro soon wrapped up a 6-4, 6-1 win to enter her second WTA final of the year having reached the last round in Acapulco earlier this year.

Pavlyuchenkova Survives Bagel Set to Reach Finals

It was a roller coaster of a semifinal earlier in the day as No. 3 seed Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova took on the surprise of the event in Switzerland's Romina Oprandi.

Oprandi's unorthodox style of play appeared to rattle Pavlyuchenkova early on in the first set. That soon lead to Oprandi taking the set by the convincing margin of 6-0.

But Pavlyuchenkova recovered to eventually win 12 out of the last 14 games as she went on to win 0-6, 6-3, 6-1.

The Russian will now aim for her second title of the season having won Monterrey a month ago. Pavlyuchenkova leads the head to head against Suarez Navarro 4-0.

(Photo Credit: AP)


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