Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova became the first player to enter the quarters of the 2023 French Open. The 31-year-old upset 28th seed Elise Mertens 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-3 after three hours and nine minutes of play on Sunday. Starting the match, Pavlyuchenkova struggled to time her shots against the more consistent Belgian.
The latter went up an early break against the world no. 333 and despite surrendering the first break of serve right back was able to keep her opponent at bay with her solid shot-making for the rest of the set. The first three games of the second set saw both players trade breaks.
Mertens was able to take a 3-1 lead in the set after holding serve for the first time in the set although her lead didn’t last for long. Pavlyuchenkova grabbed a foothold into the match after breaking Mertens’ serve for the second time in the set in the sixth game.
Before long, the tie-break was played and in that, the runner-up of 2021 French Open was almost unplayable, losing only three points en route to clinching the set and pushing the match into the decider. Pavlyuchenkova’s new-found confidence in the match continued into the third set and she built a 5-1 lead for herself and even served for the match in the eighth game of the set.
But she dropped serve without once reaching match point. Finally, with Mertens serving to stay in the match in the ninth game, Pavlyuchenkova brought up three match points and although the seeded player saved the first, a winner from Pavlyuchenkova allowed her to convert on her second match point.
Pavlyuchenkova went for her shots and finished with 50 winners and 48 unforced errors. Mertens had just 23 winners and 30 unforced errors. This is the first quarter-final at a Major for Pavlyuchenkova since she came up short in the final in the French capital in 2021.
Looking to reach her first semi-final since that run, she will take on Karolina Muchova.
French Open: Karolina Muchova, Elina Svitolina go about their business
Muchova took out Elina Avanesyan 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 37 minutes.
Although the match was wrapped up in straight sets as like her opponent in the next round, the Czech had problems in closing it out and even lost her serve while trying to serve for it. Muchova needed five match points before she secured the win for herself.
Elina Svitolina maintained her clean sheet against Daria Kasatkina to make it to her fourth French Open quarters. The Ukrainian pipped the ninth seed 6-4, 7-6(5) and extended her win-to-loss record against Kasatkina to 7-0.
Svitolina did, however, struggle in the second set and lost her serve twice as she served for the match before taking the win after winning the tie-break. Photo Credit: The Tennis Letter Twitter
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