Friday, 20 March 2009

Spotlight On ... Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was the junior world number one in 2006, and won several junior Grand Slams (including the Australian Open twice in her junior career and the US Open). She was also a finalist at junior Roland Garros. She is currently making a successful transition from the juniors to the seniors via the ITF circuit. In 2008, she has won a WTA doubles title in Fes (with Sorana Cirstea), along with two ITF singles title in Minsk and Moscow, and three ITF doubles titles. She was also a runner-up in the doubles at WTA Palermo (with fellow Russian Alla Kudryavtseva). Her best WTA result of the 2008 season so far has been a quarter-final showing in Palermo (l. to 7th seed and eventual finalist Mariya Koryttseva).

During her rise up the rankings this season, she has mixed ITF events with low tier WTA tournaments. This has been extremely profitable, as it has allowed her to build up the confidence that comes from winning lots of matches. She has also played several bigger WTA events, including Roland Garros (where she reached the second round before losing to 26th seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta in three sets) and Wimbledon (where she reached the third round before losing to 14th seed Agnieszka Radwanska). In the first round of Wimbledon, she beat 17th seed Alize Cornet to claim her first top 20 scalp. Anastasia qualified for WTA Stockholm, and reached the second round (l. to 3rd seed Katarina Srebotnik). She also reached the second round of the US Open (l. to 15th seed Patty Schnyder) and the quarter-finals of WTA Tokyo (l. to 5th seed Kaia Kanepi, after beating 3rd seed Jie Zheng in the first round).

After stepping down to the ITF circuit for the last few tournaments of her 2008 season, Anastasia won titles in Poitiers (France) and Bratislava (Slovak Republic).

In March 2009, she scored a huge straight sets win over 2nd seed Jelena Jankovic in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. This turned out to be a breakthrough tournament for the young Russian as wins over Karin Knapp, Nuria Llagostera Vives and 7th seed Agnieszka Radwanska saw her book her place in the quarter-finals.

Prior to this tournament, she had achieved second round showings in Paris (l. to Elena Dementieva) and Dubai (l. to Venus Williams) and a quarter-final appearance in Hobart (l. to Petra Kvitova) to bring her ranking inside the top 50.

Anastasia is coached by her father, Sergey. She comes from a tennis-orientated family, as her mother and brother are also tennis coaches.

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