Russian teen Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova stunned No. 3 seed Vera Zvonareva on Sunday at the French Open 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-2, completing the triumvirate of Top 3 exits after world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and No 2 Kim Clijsters.
The 19-year-old Pavlyuchenkova clubbed forehand winner after forehand winner to gain the quarters at a Slam for the first time.
“This will be my first Grand Slam quarterfinal so it really means a lot to me, especially beating Vera in only the second time playing against each other,” Pavlyuchenkova said. “I knew it would be tough and she would fight until the end, but I just believed until the end and tried my best every point. What else could I do? I wanted to win so badly, I really did everything to do it.”
For just the third time in the Open Era (since 1968) none of the Top 3 seeds will be in the final eight of a Grand Slam.
Pavlyuchenkova will next face defending champion Francesca Schiavone, who out-dueled No. 10 seed and former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
“I couldn’t go inside the court before because my shots weren’t deep enough, so I had to start hitting deeper,” Schiavone said of her strategy. “And if I served well I would go in too. That was the key — when you feel it’s time to do it, you do it.”
Marion Bartoli gave the home French fans something to cheer for, beating Gisela Dulko 7-5, 1-0, when the Argentine retired with a left thigh strain.
“I have mixed feelings — I’ve known Gisela for 10 years and know how hard it is to retire. I wanted to win this match but when I saw her suffering, it wasn’t easy,” Bartoli said. “It happened to me last week, and it’s the round of 16, so she was probably suffering a lot or she would have finished today. I hope she’s okay.”
Bartoli will next face No. 13 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, who came from a set down to beat No. 28 seed Daniela Hantuchova 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-2.
“Even losing the first set I had set points — I need to stay more focused,” said the 2009 French Open champion Kuznetsova. “I’m happy I managed to finish it pretty well in the third set. It took me a long time to get into the match and I shouldn’t allow that to happen again, but I hope I play like I did in the second and third sets going forward.”
Scheduled for Monday at Roland Garros are (6) Na Li vs. (9) Petra Kvitova, (7) Maria Sharapova vs. (12) Aggie Radwanska, Ekaterina Makarova vs. (4) Victoria Azarenka, and (15) Andrea Petkovic vs. (25) Maria Kirilenko.
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