PARIS – Ten years later, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is back in the French Open quarterfinals after beating 2013 semifinalist Victoria Azarenka 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 on Sunday.
Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli, who was doing the on-court interview, congratulated her.
“I have known you for a long time. We are friends off the pitch, ”said Bartoli. “I can see the joy on your face.”
In fact, Pavlyuchenkova found it difficult to stop smiling.
“It’s just unbelievable, even that I still play tennis so long after,” he said. “It is a surprise for me. I fought hard and I am very happy to win. “
The 29-year-old Russian reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, but never reached the semi-finals in any major.
She could then face 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams.
The seventh-seeded American was playing No. 21 Elena Rybakina in the fourth round later Sunday, with the winner facing Pavlyuchenkova.
Former top-ranked Azarenka saved two break points before clinching the first set on a sunny Philippe-Chatrier court, where the crowd was subdued.
Minus the France Television broadcast team, whose host and guests rank far above the players. The match referee asked them, during the second set, to speak more calmly as their enthusiasm washed over them.
Azarenka also received something of a reprimand – a time violation warning for taking too long to serve in the third game of the deciding set, which, coincidentally, happened just as the wind was picking up.
Tamara Zidansek, meanwhile, became the first Slovenian woman to reach the quarter-finals of a major.
She won 7-6 (4), 6-1 against Romanian Sorana Cirstea after saving a set point in a tight first set between the non-seeded players.
The 23-year-old Zidansek knelt down and held his head in his hands after winning his first match point.
Zidansek’s career is even more impressive considering the former snowboarding enthusiast had never beaten a top 10 player before this tournament or past the first round here.
No. 33 Paula Badosa of Spain joined her in the last eight for the first time in any major, beating No. 20 Marketa Vondrousova 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
In the subsequent men’s game, fifth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas faced No. 12 Pablo Carreño Busta and No. 6 Alexander Zverev played Kei Nishikori.