Commentary

Bright future for Pavlyuchenkova

Updated: May 29, 2011, 2:00 PM ET
By Greg Garber | ESPN.com

PARIS -- As the empirical evidence of this shattered French Open women's draw mounted Sunday, it seemed appropriate that a teenager was responsible for the most recent carnage.

When Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova defeated fellow Russian and No. 3 seed Vera Zvonareva 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-2, dubious history was made. It was the first time in the 43 years of the Open era -- the third time in any Grand Slam -- that none of the top three seeds reached the quarterfinals here.

Zvonareva followed No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and No. 2 Kim Clijsters into the preparation phase for the imminent grass-court season.

"Everyone is talking that we don't really have a leader right now in terms of results," Pavlyuchenkova said. "It's not like No. 1 or top five are winning, like in men's tennis. But I don't really want to comment on this because, well, it's not of my business. I'm just trying to do my thing, focusing on me."

Off the court, anyway, Pavlyuchenkova knows her place. On it, she is hardly acting her age. At 19 -- she has another month or so as a teenager -- she is by far the highest-ranked of the six teenagers in the WTA top 100, checking in at No. 15. This quarterfinals effort is her best in a major.

Zvonareva had a qualified recommendation for Pavlyuchenkova's promise for the future.

"She's been very consistent, and she's definitely young and she's got great potential," Zvonareva said. "I'm sure we will see her a lot in the future. Always tough to play against her, but there are a lot of great girls, as well. We'll see how it goes in the future."

And now, four more things I know I think:

Roger Federer is, uh, really, really good: No, he might not get around the court quite as well as his young friends Rafa and Novak, but the 16-time Grand Slam champion is still slaying history. In breezing past Stanislas Wawrinka in straight sets, Federer created another entry in the record books. This is his 28th consecutive advancement to a Grand Slam quarterfinal, one more than Jimmy Connors' previous Open era record. Next in line: Ivan Lendl (14), Bjorn Borg (12) and Pete Sampras (11). That drives home just how remarkably consistent Federer has been.

Fab Fognini (with apologies to Michael Russell) is my new favorite player: When the two of them played last year, Fognini won in five entertaining sets. On Sunday, he was lights-out in beating Albert Montanes in a 4-hour, 22-minute match. Fighting off five match points -- and five foot-faults in one game -- put him over the top.

Thank goodness for the Bryan Brothers: There aren't any Americans left in the singles draw, but Bob and Mike are already into the doubles quarterfinals. They're the No. 1 seeds here and a good bet to reach the final opposite Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor. The Bryans are looking for their record-tying 11th Grand Slam doubles title.

The champ lives to see another day: Francesca Schiavone has seen finer days since her miraculous run at Roland Garros a year ago. But the galvanized defending champ overcame a sloppy second set to beat Jelena Jankovic. The Serb is now in grave danger of falling out of the top 10. Next up for Schiavone is Pavlyuchenkova.

Greg Garber is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

Greg Garber

Writer, Reporter
Greg Garber joined ESPN in 1991 and provides reports for NFL Countdown and SportsCenter. He is also a regular contributor to Outside the Lines and a senior writer for ESPN.com.