Kerber, Pavlyuchenkova advance to final in Mexico

Top-seeded Angelique Kerber and fifth-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will face off in the finale of the $235,000 Monterrey Open after both women survived a scare in Saturday's semifinals.

Germany's Kerber needed all three sets to dispose of third-seeded Russian Maria Kirilenko 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in just over two hours on the hardcourts at Sierra Madre Tennis Club.

Pavlyuchenkova was also pushed to the limit against Romanian Monica Niculescu, but the fifth-seeded Russian bounced back from a first-set misstep to earn a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 decision.

Kerber and Pavlyuchenkova are both in search of their first WTA title this year.

Pavlyuchenkova straight-setted the world No. 6 Kerber 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-3) in their only meeting against each other in the quarterfinals at Brisbane earlier this year.

This week's Monterrey champ will collect $40,000.