Melbourne — Unseeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won a marathon three-setter against American fifth seed Sloane Stephens 6-7(3) 6-3 6-3 to reach the Australian Open quarterfinals on Sunday and match her best show in Grand Slams.
The Russian reached her second quarterfinal at Melbourne Park after her 2017 run and will now meet another American in Danielle Collins for a place in the last four.
Stephens, who won the US Open in 2017, started strongly by gaining a 4-1 advantage but her Russian opponent got the break back before the 25-year-old American won the set via a tiebreaker.
The second set started in similar fashion with Stephens breaking early to notch up a 2-0 lead before another fight-back from the 27-year-old Pavlyuchenkova.
The Russian got back on serve in the fourth game before breaking Stephens to go up 5-3 and then converted her third set point to level the match.
In the first game of the third set, Stephens saved eight break-points to hold in a marathon game that lasted for 26 points and close to 20 minutes.
Stephens then lost steam as the world No 44 converted her second match point to seal the day’s final match in 2hr 32min, finishing at 1.52am local time.
Pavlyuchenkova said she hates ice baths but her physio would still make her have one despite the late finish.
“I was even thinking that some of you guys stayed … I heard somebody yawning during the match,” the Russian said. “I’m sorry, I thought it was quite an exciting match.”
Unseeded Collins thrashed 2016 champion and second seed Angelique Kerber 6-0 6-2 earlier on Sunday.