No-Nonsense Nastia Sweeps Into QFs

Despite a slow start, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova hit her stride at the Baku Cup on Thursday.

Published July 21, 2011 10:56

No-Nonsense Nastia Sweeps Into QFs
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

BAKU, Azerbaijan - In her first round match at the Baku Cup on Tuesday, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova sent down an alarming 25 double faults before squeaking past Valeria Solovieva in two tight sets. The world No.13 made another worrying start on Thursday against fellow Russian Elena Bovina, but ultimately enjoyed an imperious 64 60 win.

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Bovina, a qualifier this week but a former Top 20 player herself, began well by breaking the No.2 seed for 2-0. Having pocketed her next service game the 28-year-old held a break point for 4-0, but when that opportunity was relinquished the tone of the second round match changed dramatically.

Displaying more characteristic aggression, 20-year-old Pavlyuchenkova fought back - drawing level at 4-4, breaking serve for 5-4 and closing out the opener to love on her own delivery. She was even more dominant in the second set, losing just nine points on her way to a 64 60 victory - and a quarterfinal showdown with Galina Voskoboeva.

Earlier, Kateryna Bondarenko continued her return to form with a 61 64 dispatch of Ekaterina Makarova, the No.4 seed. Makarova certainly had her chances: the Russian held 11 break points across the match, but could only convert one of them; by contrast Bondarenko capitalized on all four of her opportunities.

After reaching the quarters at Auckland at the beginning of the year, Bondarenko didn't win a main draw WTA match until Wimbledon, where she reached the third round. Since then she has made the quarters at Bastad and the semis at Bad Gastein; now, Mariya Koryttseva stands in the way of another showing in the final four.

Thursday's other winners included 21-year-old Anna Tatishvili, who ended the lucky loser run of her Georgian compatriot, Tatia Mikadze, 76(4) 63. If she is to make her first tour semi, Tatishvili will have to get past top seed Vera Zvonareva, who led Kristina Kucova 60 30 when the Slovak retired with a lower leg injury.

No.7 seed Ksenia Pervak meets Aravane Rezai in Friday's other quarterfinal.

The doubles semifinal line-up was also confirmed on Thursday. Top seeds Monica Niculescu and Galina Voskoboeva led the charge, posting a 62 64 win over young wildcards Nigina Abduraimova and Kamilla Farhad, 62 64.

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