After going 0-6 in Slam QFs, Pavlyuchenkova finally wins 1

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Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova wipes her face as she plays Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina during their quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Tuesday, June 8, 2021 in Paris. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PARIS (AP) — Don’t get Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova wrong: Of course she’s happy to finally make it to her first Grand Slam semifinal at age 29 after going 0-6 in major singles quarterfinals — and 0-5 in doubles quarterfinals — until now.

Just understand that she is not satisfied with how far she has made it so far at the French Open.

“Still matches to go through,” she said. “Still work to be done.”

The 31st-seeded Pavlyuchenkova will make her debut in the final four of a Slam in her 52nd appearance at one after edging her doubles partner, Elena Rybakina, 6-7 (2), 6-2, 9-7 on Tuesday.

The whole thing took more than 2 1/2 hours, and Pavlyuchenkova needed to recover from a fall early in the second set that left her back caked with clay and then overcome being a break down in the third.

“Unreal match,” said Pavlyuchenkova, who credits coaching help from her brother and working with a sports psychologist with helping her on-court progress of late.

On Thursday, she will face another first-time major semifinalist: 85th-ranked Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia.

Zidansek also needed the tennis equivalent of overtime to get through the quarterfinals Tuesday — the French Open is the only Grand Slam event that doesn’t use final-set tiebreakers in singles — eliminating No. 33 seed Paula Badosa 7-5, 4-6, 8-6.

“It feels overwhelming,” said Zidansek, a junior national champion as a snowboarder.

She called her first-round victory over 2019 U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu “a big breakthrough for me; I got a lot of confidence from that.”

Rybakina, who was seeded 21st, had eliminated 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in the fourth round.

But Rybakina’s steadiness in that match was not as present against Pavlyuchenkova, with whom she is scheduled to team up in the doubles quarterfinals Wednesday.

There were a record half-dozen first-time Grand Slam quarterfinalists in the women’s bracket, including Zidansek, Barbosa, Rybakina and a trio on Wednesday’s schedule: 17-year-old American Coco Gauff, Barbora Krejcikova and Maria Sakkari. Gauff plays Krejcikova, and Sakkari faces 2020 champion Iga Swiatek.

FANS FOR DJOKOVIC

The easing of coronavirus-related restrictions means fans will be able to attend the French Open’s final night session of this year’s tournament on Wednesday, featuring a men’s quarterfinal between Novak Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini.

It also means more folks can be in the stands at Court Philippe Chatrier.

The changes include shifting a curfew — one that forces spectators to leave Roland Garros — from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. And tournament organizers also moved the start of the night session up an hour to 8 p.m.; the last match of each day’s scheduled had been beginning at 9 p.m.

Another difference Wednesday: Up to 5,000 fans will be allowed inside the main stadium for the final five days of the tournament.

Previously, only 1,000 spectators were permitted inside Chatrier this year.

A new electronic health pass system will be used to monitor fans as of Wednesday, too.

ANDREESCU, COACH SPLIT

A week after a narrow first-round French Open loss, Bianca Andreescu split with the coach who helped her win the 2019 U.S. Open championship.

The No. 7-ranked Andreescu posted on social media Tuesday that she and Sylvain Bruneau “have mutually decided to end our incredible coaching relationship.”

They worked together for four years.

Andreescu described him as a “coach, mentor and friend” and also wrote: “Sylvain was more than a coach… he is family.”

At Roland Garros, Andreescu lost 9-7 in the third set in the opening round against Tamara Zidansek, a Slovenian ranked 85th who won Tuesday to reach the semifinals in Paris.

In 2019, Bruneau was there when a 19-year-old Andreescu beat Serena Williams in the U.S. Open final to give Canada its first Grand Slam singles trophy and become the first woman in the professional era to win the title in New York in her main-draw debut.

That was only Andreescu’s fourth appearance in any Grand Slam tournament.

She has dealt with various injuries since and only appeared in two majors — losing in the second round of the Australian Open in February before the narrow loss in Paris.

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AP Sports Writer Andrew Dampf in Rome and AP Tennis Writer Howard Fendrich in Washington contributed to this report.

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More AP Tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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