No fear to take on the very best
Pavlyuchenkova could have wilted following Sabalenka’s explosive start or after the 23-year-old's full-throttle second set resurgence.
However, she stayed positive, played some instinctive tennis to dominate the shorter rallies and defied a left leg complaint (Pavlyuchenkova took an off-court medical timeout after the second set).
The three-set triumph chalked up the No.31 seed’s 37th career win against top-10 players.
Whether she’s the underdog or favourite, Pavlyuchenkova will bring the maximum against anyone between the confines of the court.
“Sometimes I guess it's 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, keeping it simple.
“At this point, I'm not focusing on the rankings any more, not focusing on anything, on the names, nothing. I'm just there. I just take match, this particular match, and I want to win this match. That's it. I have the tactic to play this player. I have a few things how I would like to beat her. That's it basically. I don't really focus on rankings any more.”