‘I was very nervous’ – Pavlyuchenkova reaches first Slam semi-final at Roland Garros

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova defeated Elena Rybakina in a three-set Roland Garros epic to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final.

The 31st seed beat the 21-year-old Kazakh 6-7 (2-7), 6-2, 9-7 in two hours and 35 minutes in the French Open quarter-finals.

The 29-year-old Russian had reached the last eight of a major six times previously without being able to break through to the semi-finals.

“I played seven quarter-finals, so I feel a lot of emotion. It was a very good match today and I’m really happy to qualify,” Pavlyuchenkova said in her on-court interview.

“Always difficult to return Elena’s serve, even if I was a couple of times 0-30 at the end. I was very nervous this morning when I woke up because it’s always tough to play a friend and my doubles partner.

“I live in France, during the match many people cheered for Elena but it helped me.”

When interviewer Fabrice Santoro said: “maybe next match you [the crowd] will cheer for her”, Anastasia replied: “no, no, no. It helps me like this [smiling].”

Pavlyuchenkova will play unseeded Slovenian Tamara Zidansek in the last four.

Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.