Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova returned to the quarterfinals of the French Open for the first time in 10 years with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 victory over No.15 seed Victoria Azarenka. The Russian was a quarterfinalist in Paris at age 19 in 2011. On Sunday, after reaching her seventh Grand Slam quarterfinal of her career, Pavlyuchenkova confessed that she has got work to do in the remaining matches. “Tough to remember what I felt 10 years ago,” she said. “I’d say completely different. I’m very happy also now. I think I feel a little different. I feel like more mature. It’s a good moment, I’m enjoying it, but I’ve got work to do next matches.”
“I’m kind of in the present, where before I was like, ‘Oh, my God, quarterfinal. Oh, what’s happening?’ When I was actually playing quarterfinal, I was so emotional. I will never forget that match. 6-1, 4-1 up against [Francesca] Schiavone. I was just so in the emotions. I was like everywhere. I was too young. I didn’t know how to handle it. I think it was my first quarterfinal at a Grand Slam. Back then I was a little bit all over the place. I didn’t know how to handle it.”
Stating that she feels “quite fit”, Pavlyuchenkova has asserted that, “I know what I have to do”. “I hope I show more maturity as well, smarter tennis, more consistent. I feel quite fit, as well, considering the fact that, like I’ve said, I’m not the youngest on tour now, but still feeling good. I’m also enjoying much more than before. I understand, I know what I have to do, I know what I want to do, trying to work for that.”
After building up a 3-1 lead in the first set, Pavlyuchenkova suddenly found herself a set down after the first hour of play. The Russian did not let the disappointment affect her as she fought back impressively. It was a complete turnaround as the 29-year-old broke Azarenka six times in the second and third sets combined to comfortably win the match in the end.
“I’m very pleased first of all because I won. I always say, I mean, a win is a win,” she continued. “I love winning no matter how. Sometimes, an ugly win is also good. But today especially was I think a very good quality match. Me also coming back from being a set down where I also had a lot of chances in the first, I still found my rhythm back and energy to pull it through.”