No.24 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova put together a dominating performance to upset her countrywoman Svetlana Kuznetsova and reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the first time.
WTA Staff

MELBOURNE, Australia - No.24 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova put together a dominating performance to upset her countrywoman Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-3, 6-3 and reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the first time.

"I'm kind of shocked, a little! But at the same time I'm so happy," Pavlyuchenkova said afterwards.

Before this season, Pavlyuchenkova had won just one of six previous encounters against the veteran Kuznetsova, but the younger Russian walked into Rod Laver Arena fresh off a straight-sets win over Kuznetsova at last week's Apia International Sydney.

And, with Kuznetsova having to recover from her rollercoaster three-hour-and-thirty-six minute battle against Jelena Jankovic - the fourth longest women's match in tournament history - the No.8 seed just didn't have enough in the tank against Pavlyuchenkova.

"I cannot say I was very tired, but I was really tight. I mean, definitely I was not the freshest, but still, I was okay," Kuznetsova reflected later in press. "I know I still have to improve on a lot of different things in the game to get decent level, and I was a little bit too tight today in my opinion."

Pavlyuchenkova came out of the box quickly, allowing Kuznetsova to win just three points in the first three games, outpacing Kuznetsova with her deep groundstrokes.

The No.8 seed was noticeably flat at the outset, not hitting through the court with her usual power and allowing Pavlyuchenkova to pounce on the short balls. Pavlyuchenkova broke twice to comfortably pocket the opening set, where she hit 10 winners to Kuznetsova's four.

The only letdown in the younger Russian's commanding performance happened after Pavlyuchenkova earned the opening break with a blasting a forehand return. A couple of loose games allowed Kuznetsova to erase the lead and level the match at 3-3, but the parity was short-lived as Pavlyuchenkova got right back on track, breaking back in the very next game.

A Kuznetsova forehand meekly misfired into the net - one of her 19 unforced errors during the match - and gave Pavlyuchenkova her first Australian Open quarterfinal berth.

Svetlana Kuznetsova

With the victory, she also completes a perfect set of Grand Slam quarterfinals; she also reached this stage at 2011 Roland Garros, 2011 US Open and 2016 Wimbledon.

"I'll take it. I mean, it's super exciting. I'm so happy," Pavlyuchenkova laughed. "I was always wondering why I could never have a good start here in Australia after good preseason, good offseason, and a lot of practicing.

"But now it seems like I found a way, and I'm super excited to still be in the second week here."

She'll face former No.1 Venus Williams for a spot in the semifinals.