The Russian hadn't dropped a single set on her way to the last four, as she comfortably beat Daniela Hantuchova and Kirsten Flipkens, but looked likely to do so as her compatriot took a commanding 4-1 lead. However, Sharapova found her range and powered her way to the first set, taking the next five games.
The first-set collapse didn't seem to faze Pavlyuchenkova, however, as she broke in the opening game of the second stanza and held her serve to level the match.
The two struggled with their serve in the final set, exchanging breaks before Sharapova lost her nerve, committing a number of unforced errors to hand her opponent the victory.
"I'm very happy with my performance today," Pavlyuchenkova said. "Maria's so tough and she's always fighting until the end, so I'm happy I stuck with my game and kept fighting out there as well.
"I had to serve well - I had no choice today, because Maria has one of the best returns on the tour. We played a few years ago and she broke me a lot of times so that was a key for her to win again today, and I just tried to serve the best I could today. It was working well, so I'm very happy with it."