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French Open: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova reaches first Grand Slam final in record 52nd attempt

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Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat world No 85 Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia 7-5, 6-3 to reach a first Grand Slam final at a record 52nd attempt at the French Open on Thursday.

The 29-year-old Russian will face Greek 17th seed Maria Sakkari or the unseeded Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic for the title on Saturday, 14 years after her Grand Slam debut.

Pavlyuchenkova, a quarter-finalist in Paris a decade ago, became the first woman to play more than 50 majors before making her first final, breaking the previous mark of 44 set by 2015 US Open runner-up Roberta Vinci.

FINAL BOUND 🎟

In her 52nd major, 🇷🇺 @NastiaPav has secured a maiden final and a return to the top 20 with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Tamara Zidansek. #RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/U4Mrz0M2CE

— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 10, 2021

“I am so tired and so happy, it is very emotional,” said Pavlyuchenkova.

“It was difficult, I tried to fight very hard and to work on the tactical side. It is important to stay focused and in the right zone for the final on Saturday.”

The 31st seed dropped serve in the opening game on a sun-drenched Court Philippe Chatrier but capitalised on a fourth break point against Zidansek to break back for 2-2.

Pavlyuchenkova, a former junior world number one and Roland Garros…

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