INDIAN WELLS: Defending champion Ana Ivanovic ended the dream run of Russian teen Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova Friday to return to the final of the Indian Wells hardcourt tennis tournament.
Ivanovic, seeded fifth, beat the the unseeded 17-year-old 6-2, 6-3 to set up a meeting with fourth-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva in Sunday's final.
Zvonareva beat her doubles partner, eighth-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, 6-3, 6-3.
Pavlyuchenkova had beaten world number three Jelena Jankovic and number 10
Agnieszka Radwanska en route to her first WTA Tour semi-final.
But she hit a wall against Ivanovic, the reigning French Open champion who held the world number one ranking for a total of 12 weeks in 2008.
Ivanovic has made a slow start to 2009, exiting in the third round of the Australian Open and not reaching a semi-final until this week.
Down 2-5 in the second set, Pavlyuchenkova saved one match point against her own serve and held.
But she could make no inroads on Ivanovic's serve, and the Serbian closed her out with a love game.
Zvonareva, who won her eighth career title at Pattaya City earlier this year, continued her dominance of Azarenka, who has never taken a set from the Russian in four meetings.
She broke Azarenka in the first game of the second set and again in the final game to seal the victory in one hour and 20 minutes.
Azarenka, a 19-year-old who captured the first two titles of her career this year in Brisbane and Memphis, upset top-seeded Russian Dinara Safina in the quarter-finals, rallying from a set down.
She had her chances against Zvonareva in both sets. She failed to convert two break points in the ninth game to extend the first set, and also had three break chances in the eighth game of the second.
Despite the defeat, the 11th-ranked Azarenka is expected to break into the top 10 when the new WTA rankings are released on Monday.
She and Zvonareva were to be back on the same side of the net on Saturday, contesting the women's doubles final.