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Day of the underdog: Pavlyuchenkova 100/1 for French Open glory

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has “all the strokes, all the capabilities, and just so much potential” according to new coach and two-time French Open winner Martina Hingis. The Russian – already a winner on tour this term – was a quarter finalist at Roland Garros in 2011 and at 100/1 looks a live outsider for this year’s tournament.

The nine-time Slam-winner took the resurgent Russian – a Monterrey Open winner earlier this term – under her wing before her recent Fed Cup win and Pavlyuchenkova has won all but one of her seven matches since.

The world number 19 is in some of the form of her senior career, having reached two finals in her last three tournaments – with the Fed Cup win over Dominika Cibulkova on clay in between for good measure. 

That her clay-game is improving is evidenced by the fact that the her most recent final in the Portugal Open is the 21-year-old Samaran’s first career final on the dirt. The Russian’s big serve and clubbing forehands should allow her to dictate games from the baseline and she’s been displaying battling qualities and a strong nerve in Portugal, winning through in three sets in both the quarters and semi finals.

She reached the French Open quarter finals in 2011, where she was knocked out in three sets by defending champion Francesca Schiavone. Later in the same year she showed that was no fluke by reaching the same stage at the US Open, where she was knocked out by Serena Williams.

Returning to Roland Garros in 2012 she failed to build on that promising performance when eliminated in the third round. However 2012 was a poor season for Pavlyuchenkova, remaining as it does the only losing campaign on the world number 19’s career ledger.

With new coach Hingis firm in the belief that her charge can “make it to the semifinals…if not more” 100/1 is a nice price about the two-time junior Australian and one-time junior US Open winner beginning to realise some of her potential on the senior tour.