2017 Wimbledon Player Profile: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Defending quarterfinalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova returns to the Wimbledon Championships after recording her best result last year. Looking to regain some form and confidence, the Russian looks to carve a deep run and replicate her impressive run last year.

Notable Results to Date

Pavlyuchenkova had some fair results Down Under, making two quarterfinal appearances in two tough tournaments. Defeating the defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and home favorite Samantha Stosur saw Pavlyuchenkova reach the quarterfinals in Sydney, losing to Eugenie Bouchard. Another impressive run came at the first Grand Slam of the year, reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the first time in her career after outclassing Elina Svitolina and Kuznetsova once again in the process.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had an impressive run at Wimbledon last year | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had an impressive run at Wimbledon last year | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe

After disappointing results in the Middle East, Pavlyuchenkova bounced back to reach the quarterfinals in Indian Wells, this time beating Barbora Strycova and Dominika Cibulkova along the way. However, her best run in the Californian desert since 2009 came to an end in the hands of Kuznetsova after their third match-up this year.

Pavlyuchenkova finally won her first WTA title of the year as she stormed to the title in Monterrey after surviving stern tests against Caroline Garcia, Timea Babos and world number one Angelique Kerber. The win over Kerber was also the best win in the Russian’s career in terms of rankings.

The transition from hard courts to clay courts was considered smooth-sailing for Pavlyuchenkova as she went on a 10-match winning streak in WTA tournaments, strolling to the title in Rabat after defeating quality opponents like Ekaterina Makarova and Francesca Schiavone along the way.

Several poor results followed as Pavlyuchenkova was unable to find the consistency she needed, suffering from unexpected losses against lower-ranked players.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in action against Serena Williams at Wimbledon last year | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in action against Serena Williams at Wimbledon last year | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe

Grass Court Results leading up to Wimbledon

Pavlyuchenkova participated in two grass court tournaments in the lead-up to Wimbledon. Firstly, she made her first appearance in the second edition of the Mallorca Open, where she was thrashed by Julia Goerges in the second round despite being the top seed. However, it was probably caused by a shoulder injury which hindered the Russian in her first round match, seeing her having to take a medical time-out for.

Pavlyuchenkova bounced back at the Aegon International held in Eastbourne, displaying some great mental strength when she came from a set and a break down to defeat Elise Mertens in three tough sets. However, an inspired Heather Watson managed to overcome the Russian in straight sets as the wildcard was simply too good that day, triumphing after just 84 minutes of play.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova hits a forehand at the recent Aegon International | Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Europe
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova hits a forehand at the recent Aegon International | Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Europe

Best Wimbledon Result

Pavlyuchenkova has only reached the second week at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club for just one time in her career, which happened last year when she made her way to the quarterfinals. Despite facing a very tough draw, the Russian was still able to make her first ever appearance in the fourth round as she defeated Yulia Putintseva and Timea Bacsinszky along the way. Her good form continued when she outclassed Coco Vandeweghe in straight sets to progress to just the third Grand Slam quarterfinal of her career, where she narrowly lost to Serena Williams, who won her record-breaking 22nd Grand Slam title later that week, in straight sets after a break in each set decided the results.

Interestingly enough, despite being on tour for exactly 10 years already, Pavlyuchenkova has not made a real breakthrough on grass as she has not reached the final in any grass court tournament in her career.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova put up a tough fight against Serena Williams last year | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova put up a tough fight against Serena Williams last year | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe

How Pavlyuchenkova’s game translates to the surface

Having an all-court game, Pavlyuchenkova aims to dictate play throughout her matches with her powerful groundstrokes and aggressive mindset. Both her forehand and backhand are equally strong, allowing her to be aggressive. Her shots are generally flat with little topspin, and she often tries to go for the lines and force her opponents to move all around the court.

As compared to other players, Pavlyuchenkova has a fairly stronger first serve as the power on it could occasionally result in free points won. Therefore, she must attempt to keep her first serve percentage high at all times. However, the second serve is a weak aspect of her game as it is often exposed by hard-hitting and aggressive opponents, forcing her to be on the defense early on. Poor footwork could prove costly as her opponents would try to move her around as much as possible.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova returns a serve at the Wimbledon Championships last year | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova returns a serve at the Wimbledon Championships last year | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe

Pavlyuchenkova is able to play a variety of shots during her matches as she often mixes in slices and drop shots to catch her opponents off-guard. On a surface like grass, these shots are extremely helpful and the Russian should implement these into her game more often during this tournament than usual.

Nevertheless, Pavlyuchenkova still has to overcome her own inconsistencies and frail mentality as these are what that hindered her from achieving more in tennis. The Russian has to start to play consistently at a high level and should not let emotions get the better of her during matches. If she were to be playing her best tennis, another run to the second week should not be a problem.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova hits a volley at last year's Wimbledon Championships | Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Europe
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova hits a volley at last year's Wimbledon Championships | Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Europe

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