Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Ex-Capital Pavlyuchenkova finally reaches major semi

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had been 0-11 in Grand Slam singles and
doubles quarterfinals. 2017 photo by Paul Bauman
   Until now, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has been known primarily for two things:
   —Having one of the longest names, first and last, in tennis history. It must take her half an hour to sign her name. For autographs, I'd go with "AP."
   —Losing Grand Slam quarterfinals.
   Eleven times, Pavlyuchenkova (the "y" is silent) reached the last eight in a major in singles (six) and doubles. Eleven times, she lost. 
   It appeared that streak would continue today in the French Open when Pavlyuchenkova, seeded No. 31, lost the first set against No. 21 seed Elena Rybakina.
   Pavlyuchenkova, however, prevailed 6-7 (2), 6-2, 9-7 in Paris to become the first Russian to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since Elena Vesnina five years ago at Wimbledon.
   Pavlyuchenkova played for the now-defunct Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis at 15 in 2006 and made her first major quarterfinal appearance 10 years ago at 19 in the French Open. At Roland Garros that year, she led defending champion and eventual runner-up Francesca Schiavone 6-1, 4-1. 
   Rybakina, a Moscow native who represents Kazakhstan, ousted No. 7 seed Serena Williams in the fourth round to reach her maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal.
   Pavlyuchenkova, who will turn 30 on July 2, is scheduled to face unseeded Tamara Zidansek for the first time on Thursday. In a battle of first-time Grand Slam quarterfinalists, Zidansek, 23, outlasted No. 33 seed Paula Badosa, a New York-born Spaniard, 7-5, 4-6, 8-6 to become the first Slovenian to reach a major semifinal.
   In the men's semifinals on Friday, No. 5 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece is set to meet No. 6 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany. 
   Tsitsipas, 22, beat No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia 6-3, 7-6 (3), 7-5 to reach his third consecutive Grand Slam semifinal, including Roland Garros last October.  
   Zverev, 24, advanced to the French Open semis for the first time with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 victory over unseeded Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, 22, of Spain. 
   Tsitsipas is 5-2 (1-0 on clay) against Zverev. 
   In the mixed doubles semifinals, Desirae Krawczyk of the United States and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain defeated Giuliana Olmos, a 28-year-old product of Fremont in the San Francisco Bay Area who represents Mexico, and Juan Sebastian Cabal of Colombia by walkover.
   In the second round of boys doubles, Victor Lilov of Raleigh, N.C., and Peter Benjamin Privara of Slovakia topped Ethan Quinn of Fresno, Calif., and Chak Lam Coleman Wong of Hong Kong 3-6, 6-4 [10-6]. 
   WTA Tour —No. 10 seed Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland defeated Kristie Ahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate, 6-1, retired in the second round of the Nottingham (England) Open. Ahn, who reached the round of 16 in the 2019 U.S. Open, fell to 2-8 this year.
   ATP Challenger Tour — In the first round of doubles in the €132,280 ($161,250) Nottingham Open,  No. 3 seeds Matt Reid of Australia and Ken Skupski of Great Britain edged Mackenzie McDonald, a 26-year-old product of Piedmont in the Bay Area, and Brandon Nakashima of San Diego 6-4, 2-6 [11-9].

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