WASHINGTON DC, USA - While many of her fellow members of the Top 50 are in London battling it out for an Olympic medal, across the Atlantic, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova continues her preparations for next month's US Open at the Citi Open.
Pavlyuchenkova, the tournament's top seed, arrives in Washington looking to kick-start a season that so far has fallen short of her usual high standards. After reaching two Grand Slam quarterfinals and career-best ranking of No.13 during 2011, the Russian looked all set to make the step up to the top table of women's tennis.
However, the last six months have not exactly gone to plan; early exits in the opening three tournaments of the season - including at the Australian Open - were followed by a run of four straight losses, a setback from which Pavlyuchenkova has struggled to recover.
As the saying goes, though, form is temporary, while class is permanent, and back on the hard this week the 21-year-old will be hoping to cultivate the shoots of recovery that started to appear recently in Bastad. This will be easier said than done, particularly after being drawn with in-form Bojana Jovanovski in the first round.
And should she survive this tricky opening test, the route to the final is not likely to get any easier; also in her half of the draw is No.4 seed Vania King, recent Stanford runner-up Coco Vandeweghe, Iveta Benesova and dangerous floaters Aravane Rezai, Anna Chakvetadze and Camila Giorgi.
Leading the way in the bottom half is No.2 seed Chanelle Scheepers. Like Pavlyuchenkova, last season was a breakthrough one for Scheepers, highlighted by a maiden title in Guangzhou and a career-best ranking of No.37.
The South African has built on that success this time around, consolidating her place in the Top 50 and posting positive showings at the US hardcourt tournaments in Indian Wells, Miami and Stanford.