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Pavlyuchenkova beats Zvonareva at French Open
PARIS (AP) - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova knocked out the highest seeded player remaining in the women’s draw at the French Open, beating No. 3 Vera Zvonareva 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-2 Sunday to earn a spot in the quarterfinals.
Pavlyuchenkova, at 19 the youngest player still in the tournament, won the final five games after being broken early in the third set.
The third-seeded Zvonareva followed No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and No. 2 Kim Clijsters out of the tournament. They both lost in the third round. Fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus is now the highest seeded player left.
It is only the third time that none of the top three seeded women has reached the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam tournament in the Open era, which began in 1968, and the first time at the French Open. It also happened at Wimbledon in 2008 _ when the top four were eliminated by the end of the fourth round _ and at the Australian Open in 1997.
Also Sunday, Novak Djokovic is to again put his perfect season on the line, while 2009 French Open champion Roger Federer is to play Davis Cup teammate Stanislas Wawrinka. On the women’s side, Schiavone and No. 10 Jelena Jankovic are scheduled to be in action.
Zvonareva reached the Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals last year and the Australian Open semifinals in January. She saved two match points in the final game against Pavlyuchenkova before hitting a forehand long on the third.
“Well, that’s, I guess, part of the game. I know what I have to work on and what I have to improve,” said Zvonareva, who saved a match point in the second round before advancing. “Of course when you play less than 50 percent of your potential, it’s very tough to win the fourth round of a Grand Slam.”
That isn’t really surprising considering they are two of only five players remaining with more than one Grand Slam title. But with that experience comes pressure, and both have been feeling it for years.
“I (am) almost 25, but seems like I am playing for 100 years here on the tour,” Nadal said with a laugh after easily eliminating Croatian wild card Antonio Veic 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 in the third round. “In my opinion, tennis is a very demanding sport mentally and physically.”
Sharapova, who faced little trouble in beating Chan Yung-jan of Taiwan 6-2, 6-3, agreed with that assessment.
“We’ve done this for almost all our lives,” said Sharapova, who turned professional when she was 14, “so we feel like we’re on this sort of hamster carousel and we just keep going.”
By Donald Lambro
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