Monday, May 30, 2011

Pavs makes first slam quarter, Bartoli keeps home crowd hopes alive.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova reached the Quarter Finals of a grand slam for the first time at the French Open with a 7-6 2-6 6-2 victory over the third seed and her fellow Russian Vera Zvonareva.

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.


Carlos said...

"Vera fights till the end" I'm laughing hysterically.

Just to repeat myself I take
The Duchess
The Princess
"My" Ostrich
Angry Bird

Every time I see Schiavone she reminds me of a furry-less Furby, if you are old enough you will know what I'm talking about. :P She took down two of my girls Peng and JJ, well done.

Captain, I saw Angry Bird's nails and looks like she copied the style from the Bunny: loud nails. BTW she is either wearing heavy mascara or fake eye lashes.

Caps321 did you nicknamed Vera "Zera"?

BOOOooooooOOOooooo! To ESPN RG coverage!

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

Pavs is obviously trying to be the comedian of the tour :P

I think Aggir could de-rail the Masha train, with trickery and clay cort style. Would love to see Aggie or Kiri in the semi's

I am old enough to remember Furby's I am nearly old enough to recieve the age pension :P Hahaha.

Vika copied Bunny, Bunny copied Serena :P If Pavs is the commedian, Vika must be the party animal :P

Carlos said...

Angry Bird the party animal? I wouldn't want to be near a drunken Angry Bird. :P

Wait if you are in the pension age Captain, then I should be looking into my will and coffins. :P

Ostrich won the first set. She is eating up Na's second serve.

Carlos said...

Na just spanked the Ostrich in the second set 6-1.

Ostrich's first serve was the problem in the second set. Once she got down 1-3 she gave up.

Anonymous said...

Caps321 did you nicknamed Vera "Zera"?

No, that was a typo.

Somehow I don't think Ostrich will be very happy about losing the second set 6-1. I suspect she will shake her rump a little bit and come out on top in the third!

Anonymous said...

I like that Ostrich squeal Kvitova does! Can't believe she just lost.


Carlos said...

I can't believe I stayed till 4am only to see Ostrich lose. I second the

She got nervous.

Caps321, for a second I thought you were going for "Zero" as the nickname for Vera.

Anonymous said...

Vesnina/Mirza won the first set 6-0 and were up 5-2 in the second set. However, Mirza messed up quite a bit at the net. That said, they end up winning the second set 7-5!

Dulko is also injured and pulled out of singles. I don't know how that factored into the score. Seeing that I don't usually watch doubles. But, they are ranked #1.

Gotta love that Vesnina groupie chanting her name!

Anonymous said...

Just remembered why ESPN2 is a piss poor tennis option for early round coverage. Sitting here trying to watch the Aggie/Diva match. They've cut away (exclusively) to the Andy Murray match at least 3-4 times. Oh, and also with this split screen toolbar crap for extended periods:

Aggie was up 4-1/6-5 and lost the first set tie breaker. One thing I will say is: Aggie gives 100% out there and leaves nothing on the court. Sure wish she'd hook up with a strength coach and develop a forehand weapon and improve her serve. Don't guess ya need to be an expert to figure out Duchess & Princess (lost first set 6-2) are riding home 'early' in a horse drawn carriage!

Best I can hope for is Diva (looking for a career grand slam) or Petko taking out Angry Bird.

Carlos said...

I agree 100% with your comment about ESPN.

Dulko/Pennetta have been playing together for more than two years. The only grand slam title that they have is the one they won at the Australian Open this year. I don't think Vesnina/Mirza would have won if Dulko would have been healthy. Dulko knows she has more chances to win grand slam titles as a doubles player that is why she retired from her singles match and to avoid further injury. Right now I have Angry Bird/The Princess taking the title. It can be a really good tournament for Angry Bird.

The Duchess was 5-3, now trailing 5-6.

Carlos said...

Duchess lost! Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Weather conditions were right for Divapova to pound the ball.

Princess won the second set. Tied at 2-2 in the third.

Anonymous said...

Really impressed with the way Princess came back from 4-2 down in the third to even things up 4-4. If she wins this match it'd have to be huge for her confidence.

Yeah, poor Aggie lost leads in both sets...

Carlos said...

Too bad The Princess lost to this Imbecile.

Not a good day for me. I'll regroup for tomorrow. :P

BTW the number two seed in doubles are out.

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