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Playing well and having fun

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and her doubles partner, Lucie Safarova, have advanced to the quarterfinals of the French Open -- only the second time they've made it this far in a Grand Slam. Miguel Medina/Getty Images

On to the quarterfinals! My doubles partner, Lucie Safarova, and I advanced today in our French Open match against Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sania Mirza. Unfortunately, we didn't get to complete it because Bethanie pulled a muscle and had to stop after we won the first set 7-6 (7-0) and they were leading the second 5-3.

We knew Bethanie and Sania would be tough opponents, and we'd have to play very well against them. We actually didn't have a great start today. I think that after six weeks of nonstop playing, the two days off before this match made me relax a little bit and I just couldn't get into the rhythm. But Lucie pushed and encouraged me, and I got back on track. Though Bethanie and Sania were strong in the second set, we have beaten them before, at the Madrid Open just a month ago.

So far Lucie and I have had three good doubles matches after disappointing early-round losses for both of us in singles.

We were also lucky to have the first match of the day twice, so we had some downtime after each to relax a bit. I say lucky, though to be honest I hate playing early. I'm just not a morning person. But the positive side is that my mom and I did have a chance to walk around Paris, have some coffee and tea, and chat. We shopped in some very nice stores and went to the adidas store. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!

I also have a Wii here, and I've been playing it at my hotel with friends. Normally, I'm not very into video games, but the Wii is pretty fun. I've been playing “Just Dance,” which is actually probably better to do alone because I'm so embarrassed by my dancing! I love karaoke, too, and we've been doing karaoke "doubles" to see who makes the best duets among my friends. No Doubt's "Don't Speak" is my go-to song, though I also like Pink and Rihanna.

On Saturday, Lucie and I helped out at a tennis clinic for guests of BNP Paribas, the main sponsor of the French Open. It was a lot of fun and actually quite hard work! The group ranged in age from a young boy to an older gentleman, and there was a younger girl in particular who really made me work up a sweat on the court. Since we had a couple of days off between matches, we were happy to take part -- it’s always important to give back to the sponsors because without them there would be no tournaments and no prize money!

We're always having fun in whatever we do -- Lucie and I have such a good relationship both on and off the court and we're good friends. Sometimes I get down on myself if I lose a point, but Lucie always cheers me up. She's very supportive. We are both very aggressive players, so we try to dictate the game and push our opponents. She's lefty and I'm righty, and I think it's quite confusing for our opponents!

We've felt all along that we’ve played well, but this year it has been really clicking and we've had some great results. On Wednesday, we'll play the third-ranked doubles team of Nadia Petrova and Katarina Srebotnik, so it will be another very difficult match. When I first saw that matchup, I thought, What is this draw? We keep having tough opponents, but it's not a bad thing. My dad always said: To be the best, you have to beat the best. So tomorrow, we'll try to do exactly that.