Swiss tennis star Belinda Bencic wins Kremlin Cup 2019 with victory over Pavlyuchenko in Moscow
World no. 10 Bencic bounced back from losing the opening set to battled Moscow native Pavlyuchenkova in front of a partizan home crowd to eventually cruise to victory in the second and then the deciding set.
It was the second time Bencic had gotten the better of the Russian on home soil, having won their previous indoor meeting in St. Petersburg in 2016, and had the better head to head victories going into the match at 3-1.
After a fairly sound victory in the first set, Pavlyuchenkova seemed to tire rapidly as the match went on, while Bencic came on stronger as the match progressed.
Bencic, a two-time Hopman Cup winner with all-time great Roger Federer, consistently forced errors from the Russian, who fail return adequately from the Swiss player's aggressive play, losing a string of points by repeatedly hitting into the net late in second set.
Pavlyuchenkova eventually handed the set to Bencic with another net shot on her serve, which saw her being broken without winning a point.
The acton went much the same way in the decider, with Bencic racing to a 5-0 lead. Although the home player staged something of a slight comeback by nicking a solitary game, it was a the merest of consolation for a player widely outclassed on the day.
The victory cap a fantastic year for the Swiss, who returned to the world top 10 for the first time since 2015, thanks in no small part to earning a semi-final berth at the US Open.
The 22-year-old she had already booked a place in the WTA Finals in Shenzhen, China, by virtue of her semi-final win over Kristina Mladenovic on Saturday.