Sunday, 22 January 2017

Pavlyuchenkova in quarter final

The first quarter final spots were up for grabs on Day Seven of the 2017 Aus Open and doing battle for one of them were a pair of Russians - eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova and twenty-fourth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.  
In third round matches, Pavlyuchenkova had upset one of the fancies coming into the event, Elina Svitolina.  Kuznetsova was a set and a break up against Jelena Jankovic before having to fight desperately for her victory 9-7 in the third.

Although Sveta enjoys a 5-2 head to head record, Anastasia will be happy in the knowledge that she won their last meeting - second round in Sydney leading into this Aus Open.

Sveta invited Anastasia to serve first.  Two clean winners were the catalyst to an easy hold while a double fault and two wayward forehands from Sveta had her down three break points.  The break arrived on the second of these, leaving Anastasia ahead 2-0.

Pavlyuchenkova continued to feast on the Kuznetsova mistakes and served a love game to consolidate the break.

At 15-30 an off forehand winner seemed to click Sveta into action an she proceeded to win the game but still trail 1-3.  No pressure at all on the Anastasia serve, an ace confirming another hold for 4-1.

Two forehand winners from the Pavlyuchenkova racquet, one crosscourt, the other down the line, helped set up two break points, both saved.  A double fault donated another chance, which was gratefully taken with another clean winner, and Anastasia led 5-1.

Serving for the set, things became a little trickier.  Kuznetsova played better, smarter tennis, forcing errors from a more defensive Pavlyuchenkova.  Two break points were offered following the best shot yet from Sveta, a passing shot down the backhand side of Anastasia.  Only one was needed, and one of the breaks was retrieved.  2-5.

Soon it was 5-3 and Anastasia trying a second time to serve for the set.  Two service winners and 40-0 - this was a much better attempt.  A double fault and 40-30 and the nerves were showing.  However the passing shot to win the set settled everything.
6-3 Pavlyuchenkova.

Game one of set two began with a Sveta forehand winner, was filled with lots of mistakes but ended with two Anastasia delights - a running forehand passing shot to set up a break point (shot of the match) and then a down the line backhand to secure the service break.
A forehand winner sealed the next game and a 2-0 lead for Anastasia who would take plenty of reeling in from here.

Sveta began the task in the right fashion, holding serve without fuss and sticking close 1-2.  Just for the moment, though.  The Pavlyuchenkova serve was rock solid, and 3-1 was reached with no complications.
A love game and 2-3 still in touch.

Game six brought Sveta back into the picture when Anastasia sent a couple of shots long and wide and presented two break points.  A netted forehand on the second of these saw the score at 3-3.

Four errors in the next game and the score was 30-30.  Then the standard lifted.  A backhand return winner from Anastasia gave her a break point which was saved with a lovely passing shot from Sveta.  Another backhand from Anastasia forced a Sveta error and the resultant break point was converted with a forehand winner.
Anastasia led 4-3 with a break.

Downcast, Sveta hit a number of unforced errors in the Anastasia service game to follow, and at 3-5 she was staring at a straight sets defeat.
Match point arrived with a netted shot from Sveta and was saved with a winner from the same racquet.
A glorious backhand return winner from Anastasia saved a game point, and an errant Sveta backhand brought up a second match point.
It was won once the final Sveta shot found the bottom of the net.

Impressively into the quarter final is Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 6-3.

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