ANNA Chakvetadze is not like some of the others. Not for her the modern way of talking herself up, laying bare her grand slam dreams and forecasting the spoils that will one day be hers. "I just play. We will see what's happen."
Latterly, she has been just playing very well, with yesterday's 6-4, 6-1 domination of the veteran Swiss Patty Schnyder taking the 19-year-old to 21 wins from her past 22 matches, a deep purple patch that has brought titles at three of her past four tournaments.
Eighteen Russian women began this Australian Open, eight of them seeded. Chakvetadze, the 12th seed, has progressed to the last eight, where she will play the winner of last night's meeting of compatriots Maria Sharapova and Vera Zvonareva. She may not want to talk about it, but her status as a rising force is beyond dispute.
So prevalent is the "Rus" abbreviation in contemporary grand slam draws that it is easy to lump Russia's women together, with Sharapova out in front and a gaggle of wannabes straining at the hem of her corsetted dress. It is too early to pluck Chakvetadze as the one to emerge from the pack, but her game is moving in the right direction.
Barbara Schett, the popular Austrian who played here 11 times, was her first significant victim, falling to the then 17-year-old in the first round at the 2004 US Open. She knew nothing of her at the time, but has taken notice since.
"She's a little bit in the shadow of the others — Sharapova, Petrova, Myskina, Kuznetsova — and that probably suits her. The attention is not that big on her, and she can just quietly slip through the draw," Schett said yesterday.
"When I played against her, her serve was not good, but now it's a lot better. She's a pretty consistent player out there now."
Aggression is a word Chakvetadze uses often, and Schett agrees it is her dominant feature. "That's the Russian game." But yesterday's triumph illustrated there is more to this particular Russian Anna than meets the eye.
She plays a patient game for a teenager with limited guidance from above; Chakvetadze has not officially had a coach for six months, although Schett supports the theory that her father Djambuli, who travels with her, essentially fills the role.
She also reads the game beautifully, as if she's already watched it on TV and knows every line in the script.
Schnyder jumped out to a 4-1 lead, at which point Chakvetadze said she found some rhythm against the Swiss' heavily spun balls.
Schnyder had been to the last eight here in each of the previous three years, but her body language soon smacked of resignation, and the realisation that she was up against a player who was already her equal, perhaps better.
She won just one more game for the match, becoming visibly distressed by the precision of Chakvetadze's anticipation, as if she were tapping into her thoughts. Schnyder turning to her entourage, arms outstretched and asking, "What can I do?" was a telling snapshot.
So now to the quarter-finals, a first for Chakvetadze at this level. Meeting one of her fellows is no cause for concern; most of them are very nice, she said, although noting that you can't be friends with everyone.
"Of course, it's mentally a little bit different because we know each other better. But I'm not thinking like, 'OK, she's Russian, I have to beat her'."
No, being on the other side of the net is reason enough.