Sabalenka sent packing in Paris
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova insists competing against players ranked above her has its benefits after she dumped out third seed Aryna Sabalenka to reach the fourth round of the French Open for the second time.
The Russian world number 32 has now reached the second week of seven Grand Slams during her career and she is? to go all the way in Paris.
I just took this particular match, and I wanted to win this match,Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Pavlyuchenkova had been beaten by Sabalenka in straight sets in the semi-finals in Madrid last month, but exacted revenge with a stylish 6-4 2-6 6-0 victory.
The Russian had previously accounted for Christina McHale and Ajla Tomljanovic in the French capital and next faces 15th seed and Sabalenka’s compatriot, Victoria Azarenka, in the next round.
Sabalenka had been the highest seed left in the competition following Ashleigh Barty's retirement and Naomi Osaka's withdrawal, with the status now passing on to fourth seed Sofia Kenin.
Speaking after her epic three-set win over the Belarusian, Pavlyuchenkova said: "Sometimes I guess it's easier - well, not easier, but mentally you maybe have less to lose.
"The better player you are, the more players want to beat you, the more they are fired up against you."
She added: "At this point, I'm not focusing on the rankings any more. Not focusing on anything, on the names, nothing. I just took this particular match, and I wanted to win this match. That's it. I have the tactic to play this player."
Two-time Grand Slam champion Azarenka ran out an emphatic 6-2 6-2 winner over Madison Keys, while 22nd seed Elena Rybakina was equally impressive in dispatching Elena Vesnina 6-1 6-4.
Later in the day Serena Williams?defeated compatriot?Danielle Collins?6-4 6-4.