Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova knocked out defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova at the Apia International Sydney.
WTA Staff

SYDNEY, Australia - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won an all-Russian battle with defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova to advance into the quarterfinals of the Apia International Sydney.

"I'm really happy, not only because she's defending champion, but also my fellow player," she said after the match. "She's Top 10 and has had a really incredible year last year. I knew it'd be a really tough match and I was just trying to play good tennis, and take this as prep for Melbourne."

Pavlyuchenkova had lost five of her last six encounters with her veteran compatriot, and things seemed to be moving in similar fashion to start Tuesday's match.

Kuznetsova twice moved ahead by a break of serve to start, and served for the opening set at 5-4, only to see Pavlyuchenkova reel off the last three games to nab just her third set from her fellow Russian.

"I think I did everything well! I wasn't serving as well as I did yesterday; I was a little upset with that, but I'm so happy that even with a lower first-serve percentage, that I was able to win the match in two sets."

The pair exchanged breaks early in the second, with last year's Wimbledon quarterfinalist moving ahead 5-2 after a long service game, eventually clinching the win in one hour and 38 minutes.

"It's just very different conditions here; last week was my first match of the year, plus it was cold, windy, with fast courts. I had Goerges there and she was just serving bombs so it was difficult for me to get into any rallies.

"I had zero expectations here; I was just trying to enjoy the tennis, but it's working good so far."

Up next for Pavlyuchenkova is either Eugenie Bouchard or No.3 seed Dominika Cibulkova.

"Cibulkova had an incredible year last year as well; she won the Masters and is in really good form. She's a great fighter. I've never played Bouchard before. I don't think we've even practiced together. I don't know what to expect so I think I'll watch some of their match today."