Ok, y'all seem to hate "Latisha". So I'm going to go with Chevy Nova and Pavs. The kid is so rad she gets two Forty Deuce nicknames.
Tignor has picked up on Chevy Nova's awesomeness. This kid is going to be gold for soundbites. She's like a cross between Dina's candidness and Ana's charm:
The most noticeable difference, at first glance, between then and now is Pavlyuchenkova's height. By sight, she appears to have shot up 2 to 3 inches. Apparently, that isn't true. In her press conference, she's asked if she's grown in the past year.
Pavlyuchenkova responds, her eyes widening as she goes, "I thought so, yes. Compared to my coach, every time I walk, I'm like, Look, I grew up. And we go to measure and it's the same height. I'm like, No? How come?
"And the medical checkup here," she went on (we've got another chatterer on our hands), "they measured the length of my legs. They grew up 2 centimenters. The legs are growing but not me. It's a miracle." (Fortunately she's a funny chatterer.)
Taller or not, Pavlyuchenkova is hitting harder and with infinitely more accuracy than she did last year at Wimbledon. Once a rally gets underway, she inevitably backs the slighter Radwanska behind the baseline. There are times when Radwanska is forced to bend both legs to meet the ball as it skids toward her, like a hockey goalie stopping a slap shot from center ice.
Pavlyuchenkova's shots are much heavier than Radwanska's. You can hear the difference: The Russian's come off her strings with a thick thud. She gets all of the ball, as they say in baseball. Like most other young women players, her backhand is more reliable. She begins with a long, Davenport-esque loop. The result, like Lindsay's so often was, is a devastatingly flat and penetrating ball.
If her backhand is reminiscent of other new WTA stars, her manner is less intense and temperamental than, say, the personality of her fellow breakout performer this week, Victoria Azarenka. That's not to say that Pavlyuchenkova doesn't get frustrated. When she makes an error, she can spin toward her coaches with as much disbelieving fury as the next millionare girl. But where Azarenka is lean and wiry and perpetually ready to be enraged, Pavlyuchenkova is husky and stolid. Her steps around the court aren't light, but she pushes off with power. After a crucial miss today, she makes a face of modest disgust—"Ugh"—but doesn't take time to berate herself.
"I think I'm getting more confident," Pavlyuchenkova says when asked about how she turned around the result from last year's match with Radwanska. "I think five or six times is enough to learn how to play against her. Well, if you're not stupid."