Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has continued her flawless run at this year’s French Open, progressing to her first final in her 52nd Grand Slam on Thursday afternoon.
The 29-year-old became the first woman to play 50 or more majors before reaching a maiden final.
Pavlyuchenkova required just over 90 minutes to end the breakthrough run produced by unseeded Slovenian Tamara Zidansek, prevailing 7-5, 6-3 on Court Philippe-Chatrier.
The Russian showed little emotion after the win and indicated that she doesn’t want to waste this golden opportunity in Paris.
“I don't really read any news, not following anything, so I didn't know (about that record). Of course, good to know. I'm happy to to join that club, but I would love to go further and to get more,” Pavlyuchenkova told reporters after her win.
“I'm happy, but I still focused and I feel like I can do better maybe. That's what I want at least. Definitely trying to soak this in and enjoy as much as possible this very special moment for me.
“I'm not this kind of person to celebrate and make it because I have to do it. I do it by nature. Like whatever I feel at that particular moment, that's how I felt, so that's how I celebrated at that moment. But it doesn't mean anything. I'm extremely happy, of course. My first major final, so nothing to do with it.”
The 31st seed has been unstoppable at Roland Garros, eliminating Belarusian stars Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka, as well as 21st seed Elena Rybakina in an epic quarter-final on Tuesday.
Pavlyuchenkova will now face the winner of the other semi-final between Maria Sakkari and Barbora Krejcikova on Saturday.
Zidansek’s Cinderella run may have eventually ended at the hands of Pavlyuchenkova, but she will enter the top-50 for the first time next week and depart with $600,000 – clearly the biggest pay day of her career.
The 23-year-old knows she had her chances, but was thrilled with her performance across the fortnight.
“It was a good match. A new situation for me, semifinals of a Grand Slam. So, yeah, I was nervous. But who isn't at this point? I was just trying to compose my nerves as well as I could,” Zidansek said.
“I did have my chances also in the first set. It was 5-all, 15-40 on her serve. I didn't take my chances as well today as I did previous days, but I did fight till the end. I'm happy with the way I stood on the court today still.”
Russia hasn’t produced a Grand Slam winner since five-time major winner Maria Sharapova saluted for the last time at the 2014 French Open, a decade after she won Wimbledon.
Only three women – Svetlana Kuznetsova and Anastasia Myskina are the other two – and two men – Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov – have won Grand Slam titles.
History awaits Pavlyuchenkova on Saturday.
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