Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova qualifies for the final of the French Open.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova advanced to the French Open final by defeating Tamara Zidansek at Roland Garros.
At the age of 14, the Russian was the world junior number one, and now, 15 years later, she will compete on the Parisian clay for her first grand slam title.
Pavlyuchenkova had lost six times in slam quarter-finals in the previous ten years before defeating Elena Rybakina on Tuesday, but she just needed one shot at a semi-final, defeating Slovenian Zidansek 7-5 6-3.
Zidansek was the odd man out in a final four that included no one who had ever competed in a slam before.
The 23-year-old, ranked 85, had won a tough match with Paula Badosa in the last eight, keeping her cool when it mattered.
At first, she appeared to be the more collected of the two, but Pavlyuchenkova began to make her huge strikes count and took a 5-3 lead.
She was unable to serve out the set, with Zidansek breaking her with an incredible backhand overhead winner, but a double fault from the Slovenian handed the match to her opponent.
In the second set, Pavlyuchenkova was consistently ahead and held her composure with the reward in sight, securing her first match point when Zidansek smashed a backhand wide.
The 29-year-old did not throw a large party, instead taking a deep breath and smiling contentedly as she tried to process her accomplishment.
Maria Sharapova, the last Russian woman to win the women’s singles title at Roland Garros, was quick to express her delight at her compatriot’s triumph on Twitter.