The stars couldn’t be more aligned for Serena Williams to FINALLY get that 24th and record breaking Slam. Third seed Aryna Sabalenka bit the dust amid and underwhelming third set against Russian 31st seed Anastacia Pavlyuchenkova. She joins number one and two seeds Barty and Osaka on the sidelines as Serena marched on to Round 4 yesterday. Anastacia was superb at the net. Watch 3-2 first set first point. With Saba concentrating on the return and not knowing where her opponent is, the Russian seized the opportunity. Check out the service motion from Pavlyu on 5-4 40-0 set point. Textbook, arched back, mid racquet perfect. She is from the renowned Spartak Tennis Academy in Moscow, they sure know what their doing down there.
Second set Aryna came back to level the game. Key to that? She won a massive 71% of her points on first serve. She started to time her shots better. When Pavlyu advanced to the net she knew exactly what to do. Watch 5-2 first point. The final set lets just say was all Anastacia. Aryna could find no answer to that forehand winner and we have seen from past tournaments she easily gets crashed mentally if things don’t go her well early in the set. Watch 2-0(30-0). Anastacia through emphatically to Round 4. While she was doing that another Russian was in the news for all the wrong reasons. Yana Sizikova was detained by French authorities on allegations of match fixing concerning a match in the doubles last year.
She was teaming up with Madison Brengle against Romania’s Andreea Mitu and Patricia Maria Tig. There was an unusually large sum of money bet on a particular service game of hers in the second set, of which she ultimately double faulted not once but twice. As i have always said these issues are hard to prove and I wasn’t surprised when she was released. Probably they wanted to ruffle her “feathers” a bit to prevent future action. As long as there is someone willing to bet there will always be someone willing to fix a match.