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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday June 6, 2021

A decade after reaching her first Grand Slam quarterfinal, Russian’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is back in the last eight of a major hoping that seven is her lucky number.

Tennis Express

Though she is in fine form thus far in Paris, she admits that her relationship with the clay has an element of love-hate to it.

“When I was a set down, I was losing the first set, I lost it, the beginning of the second I was looking at my shoes, at the clay. I was thinking, ‘I hate clay so much. What I'm even doing here in Paris? I was saying this to myself.’ But now I won and I really love this tournament and I love clay. So, you know, it's always like this.”

Pavlyuchenkova, who defeated Victoria Azarenka 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 on Sunday, has seen her draw crack open neatly and this time she’ll be the far more experienced player than she was back in 2011 when she lost a tough three-setter to Francecsa Schiavone.

“I think I feel a little different,” she told reporters as she looked ahead to her next rounds in Paris. “I feel like more mature. It's a good moment, I'm enjoying it, but I've got work to do next matches. I'm kind of in the present, where before I was like, ‘Oh, my God, quarterfinal. Oh, what's happening?’”

Pavlyuchenkova remembers her contest with Schiavone quite well. And not fondly.

“When I was actually playing quarterfinal, I was so emotional,” she said. “I will never forget that match. 6-1, 4-1 up against Schiavone. I was just so in the emotions. I was like everywhere. I was too young. I didn't know how to handle it.”

These days, the Russian, now 29, says she lives in the present and is a much more mature athlete.

“I think I'm more mature,” she said. “I hope I show more maturity as well, smarter tennis, more consistent. I feel quite fit, as well, considering the fact that, like I've said, I'm not the youngest on tour now, but still feeling good. I'm also enjoying much more than before. I understand, I know what I have to do, I know what I want to do, trying to work for that. You enjoy that much more. Like you're really in the present, so that's nice.”

In a strange twist, Pavlyuchenkova will meet her doubles final in her seventh career Grand Slam singles quarterfinal.

The pair will face Nicole Melichar and Demi Schuurs in third-round action on Court Simonne-Mathieu on Monday in Paris.