Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova reached the French Open final with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Tamara Zidansek in their semi-final on Thursday. The 31st-seeded Russian needed an hour and 34 minutes to wrap up the victory. The Russian started shakily and fell behind a break right in the first game of the opening set in which she was pegged back from 40-15.
However, as the set wore on, Pavlyuchenkova began to settle into the match. She not only recovered the break but also secured a second break in the eighth game. Nerves soon came into play as she tried to serve for the match and she was broken back by the Slovenian.
In the 11th game, Pavlyuchenkova saved two break points to put herself in the lead once again. In the 12th game, Zidansek’s errors saw her concede the set to Pavlyuchenkova. The world no. 32 didn’t let her first-set momentum slip in the second set and broke the world no.
85 in the second game. The next three games yo-yoed between the two players as each traded breaks before Pavlyuchenkova stopped the break fest to hold for 4-1. Zidansek followed it up with a service hold of her own. But the eighth and ninth game of the set featured an exchange of breaks with Pavlyuchenkova and Zidansek surrendering their serve in that order.
French Open: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova keeps her dreams alive
In the 10th game of the set, with an opportunity to serve for the match on the line, Pavlyuchenkova upped her game and made good on the first of her two match points.
She finished with 19 winners to her opponent’s 27 but with fewer unforced errors – 22 to Zidansek’s 33. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova became the first Russian since Maria Sharapova to reach the final of a Major (Sharapova reached the 2015 Australian Open final).
The 29-year-old is also the first player from her country since Sharapova in 2014 to reach the French Open final. Pavlyuchenkova’s debut in the final at Major comes in her 52nd appearance in a Grand Slam. In the final, Pavlyuchenkova awaits either Barbora Krejcikova or 17th seed Maria Sakkari.