Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is in a major quarterfinal for the sixth time in her career and looks to finally clear that stage at the Australian Open, where she has triumphed in 2006 and 2007 as Girls' champion. With a new coach and attitude, the Russian is looking forward to finally grabbing that elusive semifinal spot.
Russian looks for third straight upset amidst positive changes to outlook, coaching team
Pavlyuchenkova is on the doorstep of her long-awaited first major semifinal for the third time in the last four years here, having gotten to this point by striking a staggering 71 winners in her fourth round upset of Angelique Kerber. She gave her thoughts on why she has reached this point in Melbourne yet again.
"I think my attitude, my fights and spirit", she said. "That I always think pays off, or at least that gives you some sort of confidence. Sometimes there were some moments or matches where I didn't feel my best or I didn't play my best, but I was still there."
When asked to describe her overall attitude, which has also seen her pull off a massive upset of second seed Karolina Pliskova this fortnight, she stated "Disciplined. Just fighting, focused of course. Sometimes before...I would go crazy and I would lose myself. You would just not do what you have to do.
"Normally you prepare the match, you discuss with your coach. I would go and I would just go crazy. I will start doing something. He will be like, 'well, hello. Where are you? You're not here anymore. "
A last eight showdown with Garbine Muguruza awaits the Russian and she feels she can get even better. "I'm not going to say i'm not playing my best tennis, not at all. I feel like I play good, of course, good tennis. But I still feel like I can improve a lot of things.
"That gives me also a lot of positive things. During the match, I guess I got to work harder, I got to improve this. It gives me more confidence or belief that there is still room for improvement, which is always good."
Ironically, Pavlyuchenkova's new coach is Sam Sumyk, who was coaching Muguruza for the better part of four years before splitting last July. "We do a lot of work. I've been working so hard during the off-season, putting a lot of work in off-court and on-court", she said of the new partnership.
"But I think I just find it more fun now. I like these tough matches. I'm enjoying it. Before I think my game was always there, and I could come up with a lot winners, too. It's not enough. It's not enough to just play. Sometimes win is the win.
"You have to win somehow, find a way. I enjoy that sometimes, too. How many times you're not going to play your best tennis every match obviously. Sometimes something is off. You just feel more tired or whatever. That's the part of the game."