Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for the second consecutive year and third time in four seasons entered the top 8 at the Australian Open. On Monday, the Russian defeated former champion of the tournament, Angelique Kerber of Germany.
PROGRESS AT THE END OF THE YEAR
Anastasia loves Australia. Not in the sense as a country or part of the world (“during the match I thought, as tired of this Melbourne”! laughed Pavlyuchenkova after a difficult game in the first round). And I mean, like a tournament. And if not love, should love. Of all the “Big hats” that the Australian Open has been her best. Five times in his career, the Russian woman came out on “majors” in the quarterfinals. And twice did in Melbourne. For the first time in 2017. the Second time – last year. When there is little of what I was expecting. After not the best season in 2018, Anastasia fell out of the top 40. In January 2019, the lost two games out of three such competitors as Veronica Kudermetova (133rd in the world at the time of the meeting) and the Belarusian Vera Lapko (63-I). But the Australian suddenly came into peak form and beat alternately Olympic champion Rio Monica Puig, then the ninth racket of the planet, the Dutchwoman Kiki of Bartens, strong Belarusian Alexander Sasnovich, and in the fourth round former US Open champion, who stood fifth in the ranking American Sloane Stephens. Moreover – almost Pavlyuchenkova reached the semi-finals! But it’s a shame about Daniel Collinswho impressed in that tournament, no less. Losing the thread of the game in the second game, Anastasia still lost– 6:2, 5:7, 1:6.
It would seem that after such an early season return to the top 20 inevitably! Alas, as often happens, local success at the Australian Open tennis player to develop could not. The season came crumpled, filled with a series of defeats and departures in the first round… On “Rolan Garros” and Wimbledon Pavlyuchenkova has not passed even a round at the US Open was eliminated in the second (having lost Bertens). And in the autumn started a new growth results. In Osaka Anastasia reached the final (where they lost – the irony! – Naomi Osaka). And on “the Kremlin Cup” has repeated success (but also without title, lost Belinda Bencic). All this has helped to get closer to the top 30 and with optimism to look in the new year. Moreover, the random victory was not.
ANASTASIA AND SAM
Since the beginning of the fall Pavlyuchenkova changed the coach. And it started to work Sam Sumyk.
The Frenchman scored his authority and earned the fame that led to loud victories of a number of girls. Having started with Vera Zvonareva (later she will play twice in the finals of the “Hats” and will visit second racket of the world), Sam later led to titles Victoria Azarenka and Gerbino the Wind. I had short period of joint work with canadian Eugenie Bouchard, but it did not work out – the finalist of Wimbledon-2014-slipped in the locker room at the US Open in 2015, was injured in the head, was out for a while, and return to the previous level failed. However, with her Sumich managed to achieve local success. Now trying to do with Pavlyuchenkova.
The changes are noticeable even if only in what form is Nastya. First – the physical. Noticeably losing weight, She gained in speed and in endurance. Winter charges given result. January Pavlyuchenkova played confident, do not be confused by the lack of victories. What’s Petra Kvitova in Brisbane that Ashleigh Barty in Adelaide, the Russian fought for three hard Seth! And the Estonian Anette Kontaveit , “ate”, not choking – 6:2, 6:4. The one that at the Australian Open also reached the quarter-finals.
So, by and large, no one was surprised that in Melbourne Anastasia again looks confident. Another thing – few people thought that with this grid it will be able to get far…
THE SWING IN THE FIRST GAME
Because in the third round, the Russian got on Pliskova. Not the Cristina. And its much more successful twin sister – Caroline. The former first racket of the world, now second in the ranking. Where Anastasia had lost all six of their face-to-face meetings.
What? Nothing! The seventh attempt was successful. In the hard struggle, on two tie-breaks, but Pavlyuchenkova did. And advanced to the next round, where they landed on Cerberus.
With Angelica and the statistics were different. First, the girls met frequently – as much as 14 times. Secondly, the victory was shared equally. And the last remained for the Russian in the semifinals in Osaka last year. Now the German is not in that condition when he won the Australian Open, defeating Serena in the final (in 2016), and became the leader of the rating. But still, she’s a dangerous fighter! “Playing without looking at the account”, – said Anastasia. And, of course, this match simply could not be simple.
He came out like we expected – thrilling, intriguing, emotional… And started, like, easily with two breaks Pavlyuchenkova in a row, which, leading 5:2, came to apply for a starting party. But it is necessary to relax a little, punch a couple of times out of bounds or throw the opponent a short ball, how everything is changing dramatically. It is not even setblob – Kerber wins back both feed, and after taking the tie-break… Here as in this situation not to panic? Not to give up and not to quit playing?
But Anastasia didn’t quit. The second party is clear, reliable. Again, everything is decided on a tie-break, but there is luck is on the side of Pavlyuchenkova. And in the third set after 20 minutes, she is leading 4:0…
And let Kerber still makes one break, history the first batch is not repeated. Anastasia keeps the advantage. Brings meeting to bitter end. And the third time in his career, plus a second consecutive exits in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.
– Of course, in the beginning was very sad, Pavlyuchenkova will tell “Eurosport”. – Led 5:2, my serve, plus new balls… things went well! But it’s tennis – you’ve got to fight for every point. Plus we know the nature of Kerber, she is an incredible fighter. And today he fought like a beast! Even in the third game, despite the score 6:2, all at any time could turn the other way. So I’m glad I was able to handle it. Now we must prepare for the new game.
Interestingly, in the fourth rounds on the “Big hats” Pavlyuchenkova almost never loses. Has already won six victories in seven attempts. But the quarter has not yet been… never will it be Possible now? There it will wait for… Muguruza. The one that Sumic trained to Nastia. For the past four years.