Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beats Zidansek, reaches her maiden Grand Slam final
Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova overcame Tamara Zidansek to enter the grand finale of the 2021 French Open. Pavlyuchenkova earned a straight-set victory (7-5, 6-3) over the world number 85 in the semi-final. The 29-year-old, who knocked out third seed Aryna Sabalenka last week, has reached her maiden Grand Slam final. Earlier, she had reached her first major semi-final after appearing in quarter-finals six times.
Although Pavlyuchenkova entered the match as favorite, Zidansek broke her serve in the very first game. The former then broke twice to gain a 5-3 lead before Zidansek bounced back. Pavlyuchenkova broke Zidansek's serve a third time, winning 7-5 from 5-5. The Russian was 2-0 ahead in the second set, however, Zidansek made a brief recovery. She finally succumbed to Pavlyuchenkova after a while.
Pavlyuchenkova registered a total of 75 points in the match. She won 51 percent of the receiving points (32/63). The Russian clinched six out of 10 break points. On the other hand, Zidansek recorded as many as 33 unforced errors.
Pavlyuchenkova has reached her first-ever Grand Slam final. She has become the first Russian woman in over six years to reach a major final. Maria Sharapova was the last Russian woman to attain the feat (at the 2015 Australian Open). Interestingly, Pavlyuchenkova became the first woman to play more than 50 majors before reaching her first final.
Pavlyuchenkova made her Grand Slam debut in the 2007 Wimbledon as a 15-year-old wildcard. She lost to Daniela Hantuchova in the first round. The Russian made her 52nd appearance in a Grand Slam main draw this time. The previous record was held by Roberta Vinci, who finished as the 2015 US Open runner-up in her 44th main draw.