Pavlyuchenkova beats Rybakina to reach her maiden Grand Slam semi-final in Paris

Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova reached a Grand Slam semi-final for the 52nd time at the French Open on Tuesday, defeating Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan 6-7(2) 6-2 9-7.

Despite some early nervousness, the 29-year-old having lost six times in the quarter-final stage of one of the four majors, utilized all of her experience to defeat her doubles partner in a grueling battle.

“Mentally, it was too tough,” said Pavlyuchenkova. “I was super nervous this morning but that’s tennis. We both wanted to win it’s normal, it’s sports. It was important to return her serves, it was the key for me,” she added.

When Rybakina took a 4-1 lead in the first set, she appeared to be in command of her maiden Grand Slam quarter-final, but Pavlyuchenkova fought back to force a tiebreak. The Russian gained the upper hand in the second set, leveling the match, and maintaining her lead in a dramatic conclusion.

In the third set, Rybakina, who defeated Serena Williams in the fourth round, held serve three times to stay alive. The 21st seed failed at the fourth attempt, ending the match in a tame manner with a double-fault.

Pavlyuchenkova said her fighting instincts made the difference. “When I’m on the court, I’m doing my job and I fight, and I want to kill my opponent every time I play. So that’s the difference,” she said.

Pavlyuchenkova will compete for a spot in Saturday’s final against fellow semi-final debutant Tamara Zidansek, who defeated Spain’s Paula Badosa after a tough fight.

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