French Open

Schiavone rallies for win

2011-05-31 17:45
Francesca Schiavone (File)

Paris - Defending champion Francesca Schiavone battled from a set and 4-1 down to defeat Russian teenager Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and reach the French Open semi-finals on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old, who became the first Italian woman to win a Grand Slam title when she triumphed last year, clinched a 1-6, 7-5, 7-5 win in a mistake-strewn quarter-final that featured 13 breaks of serve and 79 unforced errors.

Fifth seed Schiavone will face either Russian 13th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2009 champion, or 11th-seeded Marion Bartoli of France for a place in the final.

"It was very difficult for me at the start of the match. I haven't been playing well on centre court, but I hope to do so in the semi-finals," said Schiavone.

"To win the title again I will have to beat two great players."

Schiavone struggled in the chilly, blustery conditions on Court Philippe Chatrier in the first set.

She was broken twice on her way to a 4-0 deficit in the opener before 19-year-old Pavlyuchenkova, the 2006 world junior champion, clinched a third break in the key seventh game to take the set 6-1.

The Italian managed to win just two points on the teenage Russian's serve in a woefully under-par first-set performance.

But her greater experience paid off in the second set when she overturned a 4-1 deficit to win six of the next seven games to level the tie as the Russian's game fell apart.

A running backhand pass gave Schiavone a break in the opening game of the decider and she was soon 3-0 ahead as Pavlyuchenkova's game was made to look increasingly one-dimensional.

The sturdy Russian retrieved one of the breaks to go to 1-3, but Schiavone hit straight back to stretch to 4-1.

In a topsy-turvy final set, which featured seven breaks of serve, the Italian went to 5-1 before squandering a chance to serve for the match at 5-2 when she was broken to love.

Pavlyuchenkova held for 4-5 and broke to level at 5-5 before lazily handing the initiative back to Schiavone in the 11th game.

The Russian saved one match point with a wrong-footing forehand off a short approach and another with a forehand off a weak second serve.

A deft drop shot took the Italian to a third match point, however, and she celebrated victory when Pavlyuchenkova batted back a tame backhand that was eagerly gobbled up by the champion.

Read more on:    french open  |  francesca schiavone


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Sport Talk
Most Read


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Heyneke unveils his USA plan
Lancaster, Robshaw consider their futures
Foley destroys England's dream
Boks continue upward curve

Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


Take a photographical trip down memory lane and remind yourself of how the Springboks fared in their five previous Rugby World Cup campaigns. In addition, pick your all-time Springbok Rugby World Cup Dream Team and you could win R3 000!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.