Russian starlet Anastasian Pavlyuchenkova produced a superb performance to knock former champion Angelique Kerber out of the Australian Open and move into the quarter-finals of the tournament in Melbourne.
Pavlyuchenkova fell behind after losing a first-set tiebreak before powering back into the match and winning 6-7, 7-6, 6-2 to book her place in the last eight of the women’s draw.
The 28-year-old’s progression ensured she reached her third quarter-final in the last four years in Melbourne, which has been a happy hunting ground in the past.
It also guaranteed that the tournament would crown a brand new champion, with all the previous champions in the draw going out of the competition before the quarter-final stage.
In a blistering performance, Pavlyuchenkova hit a staggering 71 winners, to defeat former world No. 1 Kerber in two hours, 37 minutes.
And when asked about her tough assignment in the last 16 clash, she said, “You think so?” before bursting out laughing.
“It was extremely tough. In my head I lost it couple of times during the match. So I am really happy that I am standing here right now.”
No. 30 seed Pavlyuchenkova will return to action on the second day of quarter-final matchups on Wednesday.
Only three of the top 10 seeded players remain, No. 1 seed Ashleigh Barty will face No. 7 seed and 2019 finalist Petra Kvitova in the pick of the quarter-final matchups, while No. 4 seed and former world No. 1 Simona Halep is also safely through to the last eight, where she will take on No. 28 seed Anett Kontaveit.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN: WOMEN’S QUARTER-FINALS
- Sofia Kenin (14) vs. Ons Jabeur
- Ashleigh Barty (1) vs. Petra Kvitova (7)
- Anett Kontaveit (28) vs. Simona Halep (4)
- Gabriela Muguruza vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (30)