For the first time in eight years at the Grand Slam tournament, Russia will be represented simultaneously in the quarterfinals of both the men’s and women’s singles. This became clear after first Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in three games broke the resistance of ex-first racket of the world Victoria Azarenka from Belarus in the 1/8 finals of Roland Garros, and then Daniil Medvedev outplayed Chilean Christina Garin. The last time this happened was at the US Open in 2013.
The participation of Russian tennis players and tennis players in the quarterfinals of Grand Slam tournaments has long been considered commonplace. However, cases when Russia at the same major is represented at this stage of both male and female singles are still quite rare. The previous time, this happened a long time ago – in 2013 at the US Open, where Mikhail Youzhny and Ekaterina Makarova reached the quarter finals. And now Daniil Medvedev and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova were able to do the same.
This result is dear to each of them in its own way. Pavlyuchenkova returned to the top eight Roland Garros ten years later. In 2011, many saw the ex-first racket of the world among juniors in the top ten of the adult rating, but until now she did not rise above the 13th place, and she has not gone beyond the quarterfinals at the Grand Slam tournaments yet. Although the current quarterfinals, already the seventh in a row, will probably be the most valuable.
The fact is that the career of the 29-year-old Russian woman, the owner of 12 Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) titles, resembles a cross-country marathon. At least twice, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova thought about leaving the race, and the last time such a psychologically difficult period, according to her, was at the beginning of this season. Nevertheless, she managed to cope with herself. The first signal that Pavlyuchenkova could be dangerous again at Roland Garros was her reaching the semifinals of the major May tournament in Madrid. And now in Paris, following the fourth racket of the world, Arina Sobolenko, she outplayed another strong and very difficult opponent from Belarus – Victoria Azarenko.
Their paths first crossed at professional tournaments back in 2009. And in the six previous cases, the Russian woman left the court as a winner only once – in Cincinnati six years ago, when the Belarusian, confidently taking the first set, in the middle of the second game refused to continue the fight due to a left thigh injury. The rivals studied each other perfectly, they had no tactical secrets, so the decisive factors in this case were the stability of the nervous system and the quality of the serve.
The first game, during which Pavlyuchenkova led – 3: 1, remained with Azarenka. The second set partially followed the same scenario: Azarenka again equalized the situation, losing 1: 3, and in the seventh game, Pavlyuchenkova served a very unpleasant moment when the score was 30:30. But she did not just hold out, but was able to take two points due to the maximum aggression. But Azarenka, unable to cope with the pressure, wavered. At first, she made two double faults in the eighth game, and at the end of the ninth, she missed the third set point. It is not surprising that in the second half of the third game, Pavlyuchenkova was already dictating her terms almost completely. And in the sixth game she, yielding 15:40, still kept her serve and finally demoralized the Minsker.
As a result – 5: 7, 6: 3, 6: 2 in 2 hours 9 minutes. Thanks to this important victory, among other things, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova returned to the top thirty of the world rankings. At the press conference, the Russian woman, of course, had a reason to recall the Parisian quarterfinals ten years ago, in which she led 6: 1, 4: 1 against the Italian Francesca Schiavone, but was unable to curb her emotions. And this recollection was very appropriate, since on Tuesday Pavlyuchenkova was destined to play a completely different role. Now she has to examine her younger rival – 21-year-old Elena Rybakina from Kazakhstan, who dealt with 39-year-old Serena Williams in a beautiful style. No matter how hard the famous American tried to get a little closer to her 24th victory at the Grand Slam tournaments, Rybakina won quite quickly, in 1 hour 17 minutes, – 6: 3, 7: 5.
Daniil Medvedev’s path to the quarterfinals of this Roland Garros, as in the case of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, was associated with self-overcoming. Although it turned out to be completely different. The coronavirus postponed at the very beginning of the clay season, combined with the bleak statistics of performances in Paris, where the Russian had not won a single match before, did not seem to promise him anything good, even despite the second place in the ranking. However, it was no coincidence that at the end of May Medvedev said that he seemed to be able to find his game.
He spent the first week of Roland Garros almost perfectly, beating four opponents of approximately the same level, but completely different in their style of play. At first it was the unpredictable Alexander Bublik from Kazakhstan, then – the tough, but rather banal American Tommy Paul. In the third round, Medvedev in excellent style coped with another American – the tall Reilly Opelka, who knows how to perfectly use his powerful serve not only on fast surfaces, but also on the ground. And in the 1/8 finals, Christian Garin, a typical earthen court specialist, could not do anything with the Russian.
Throughout the game, Medvedev’s advantage was not in doubt. The South American, tired of three difficult previous matches, simply did not understand how to approach his opponent, who was acting with a decent margin. It was a very high quality tennis, reminiscent of the best Medvedev samples. And the two-time finalist of the Grand Slam tournaments left the most spectacular blows for the penultimate game, in which, responding to Garin’s attacks, he twice flawlessly shot right through the corridor and made a break. The victory with a score of 6: 2, 6: 1, 7: 5 brought Medvedev to Stefanos Tsitsipas, with whom, of course, it will be much more difficult. However, the Russian usually plays well with the Greek, and in February in the Australian Open semifinals, his superiority was clear.
Meanwhile, the Swiss star Roger Federer has starred with Roland Garros. Having played on Saturday night the hardest four-set match with German Dominik Kepfer, which lasted three and a half hours, the 39-year-old maestro decided not to risk his knee, on which he underwent two operations, and refused to go to the game with Italian Matteo Berrettini on Monday. And this is understandable. Federer made no secret of the fact that his main goal at the Grand Slam tournaments this season is Wimbledon, which will start in three weeks.
Roland Garros Fourth Lap
Women. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia, 31) —Victoria Azarenko (Belarus, 15) 5: 7, 6: 3, 6: 2. Tamara Zidansek (Slovenia) -Sorana Kyrstea (Romania) 7: 6 (7: 4), 6: 1. Paula Badosa (Spain, 33) —Marketa Vondrousova (Czech Republic, 20) 6: 4, 3: 6, 6: 2. Elena Rybakina (Kazakhstan, 21) – Serena Williams (USA, 7) 6: 3, 7: 5.
Today Zidansek-Badosa, Rybakina-Pavlyuchenkova meet in the quarter-finals.
Men. Daniil Medvedev (Russia, 2) – Christian Garin (Chile, 22) 6: 2, 6: 1, 7: 5. Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece, 5) —Pablo Carreno Busta (Spain, 12) 6: 3, 6: 2, 7: 5. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (Spain) —Federico Delbonis (Argentina) 6: 4, 6: 4, 4: 6, 6: 4.
Today Tsitsipas – Medvedev, Davidovich Fokina – the winner of the match Alexander Zverev (Germany, 6) – Kei Nishikori (Japan) will meet in the quarter finals.