Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has continued her incredible run to the final of the 2021 French Open with a straight sets, 7-5 6-3, victory while ending the dream charge of Tamara Zidansek.
The 29-year-old, perhaps conscious of the toll the tournament has taken on her body already, strived for short points and played with superb aggression and intent to hit her way into Saturday’s showpiece in one hour and 34 minutes in Paris.
Zidansek, who has been a revelation at Roland Garros this fortnight, was flat at key moments and did not manage to rise to the occasion as she has so many times previously in this tournament.
In what was a tense and nervy start to the match, Zidansek was forced to shush her own team in her box for fear of a coaching violation. Then to end the first set in disappointing fashion, she planted both her serves into the net to double fault and hand her opponent a decisive break.
Impressively aware of the implications of having her team cross the line in terms of offering her coaching from the stands, Zidansek put her finger to her mouth to make it abundantly clear that she did not want to hear from them at a crucial point in the opening set.
The 23-year-old was spoken to by the umpire at a changeover due to her team being somewhat over the top and, quick to address the fear of potentially receiving a coaching violation, the Slovenian took swift action.
After the underwhelming finish to the opening set with the double fault, Zidansek threw everything she could at Pavlyuchenkova but ultimately the Russian always held the edge and would not let her level drop.
A flurry of breaks of serve did follow but Zidansek never managed to establish a commanding lead and Pavlyuchenkova was not only able to close out the win but ensure it was not a long match ahead of Saturday.
She will now await the winner of the second semi-final between 17th seed Maria Sakkari and Barbora Krejcikova in what will be her first Grand Slam final.