Monday, May 30, 2011
Pavs makes first slam quarter, Bartoli keeps home crowd hopes alive.
It was an impressive performance from the 19-year-old, who at 15th in the rankings is officially the world's best teenager, as she fought back from breaks down in the first and third sets.
After Pavlyuchenkova won the first two games, Zvonareva went on a run of five games in a row but she could not close out the set and in the end it was her young opponent who dominated the tie-break.
Zvonareva, the beaten finalist at both Wimbledon and the US Open last year, struggled to cope with the weight of Pavlyuchenkova's ground strokes but she made a good start to the second set and this time she held her nerve to level.
When the 26-year-old broke in the third game of the decider, it looked like her greater experience might tell, but she did not win another game. Pavlyuchenkova, whose previous best run was to the fourth round of the US Open last year, proved by far the steadier and she clinched victory on her third match point after two hours and 27 minutes.
Pavlyuchenkova used to live and train in France, and the victory could be a watershed moment for the teenager. She said: "This is my first grand slam quarter-final so it really means a lot to me, especially beating Vera. I knew it would be tough. She's very experienced and fights until the end.
"I just believed and tried to play my best every point. I wanted to win so badly so I did everything to do it. The French Open is my favourite grand slam so of course my goal is to do really well here, and it is my dream to win at Roland Garros."
The Russian felt the key to the victory was her improved mental strength, comparing her performance to last year's third-round defeat by Serena Williams. Pavlyuchenkova added: "Against Serena Williams, it was the third set and she broke me once, and then I didn't really believe that I could come back. It was 6-2 in the third for her. This time I think that was the main key."
Zvonareva's exit means the fourth seed Victoria Azarenka is now the highest-ranked player left in the women's draw, and the Russian admitted she struggled to find her best form throughout the tournament.
The third seed said: "Potentially I can play much better tennis. But overall I fought well. I tried my best and I gave myself the best chance. I had chances in the first set and I had chances in the third set but I couldn't take them."
Zvonareva praised her opponent, adding: "She played a great match. She's been very consistent, she's young and she's got great potential. I'm sure we will see her a lot in the future."
Bartoli may not be the most popular French tennis player but she did give her home crowd something to cheer about making the final eight here for the first time in her career. Bartoli has made quarter finals or better twice before (2007 Wimbledon Final, 2009 Australian Open QF) and won her 4th round match here with a 7-5 1-0 victory over Gisela Dulko. Dulko upset eight seeded Samantha Stosur in the previous round and is not 0-9 in matched after defeating a top ten player.
Defending champion Francesca Schiavone and 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova advanced the Quarter Finals with three set wins over Jelena Jankovic and Daniela Hantuchova respectively.
Today's matched will see Li Na, Petra Kvitova, Ekaterina Makarova, Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, Agnieszka Radwanska, Andrea Petkovic and Maria Kirilenko all battle for a spot in the last eight at Roland Garros. Makarova will be the only player playing for her first slam Quarter Final.