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French Open: Krejcikova saves match point to set up final with Pavlyuchenkova

Filed on June 11, 2021 | Last updated on June 11, 2021 at 12.11 am
Czech Republic's Barbora Krejcikova celebrates after winning her semifinal. (Reuters)

Krejcikova, 25, is the fourth unseeded women's finalist in five years at Roland Garros


Barbora Krejcikova will play Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the French Open final after the Czech world number 33 saved a match point to defeat Greek 17th seed Maria Sakkari 7-5, 4-6, 9-7 on Thursday.

Krejcikova, 25, is the fourth unseeded women’s finalist in five years at Roland Garros. She won the French Open doubles title in 2018 but her best previous result in singles was a run to the fourth round here last year.

It will be the sixth successive French Open to crown a first-time women's major champion.

“I always wanted to play a match like this, when I was younger, playing juniors, I always wanted to play such a challenging match where we both had chances and were playing so well,” said Krejcikova.

“Even if I lost today I would be very proud of myself, because I was fighting. That is the most important thing, in here and in our own life.”

Both players made a nervy start to their maiden Grand Slam semifinal, with 17th seed Sakkari the first to hold serve in the fourth game as she took a 3-1 lead.

But Krejcikova picked up the next four, pulling 5-3 ahead with a sublime lob that left her serving for the set.

The Czech was then broken to love as Sakkari rattled off eight points in a row to level at 5-5.

A routine hold from Krejcikova put the pressure back on Sakkari, who hammered a forehand long before surrendering the set as her shot clipped the net and floated wide.

Sakkari, who took down last year’s runner-up Sofia Kenin and then reigning champion Iga Swiatek in the past two rounds, regrouped and raced 4-0 ahead in the second.

The Greek fended off a spirited comeback from Krejcikova to force a decider after locking down a third set point.

Sakkari broke for a 2-1 edge as Krejcikova dragged a backhand wide, saving a break point in the next game to consolidate as the finish line crept ever closer.

The Greek had match point at 5-3 but the resilient Krejcikova stayed alive with a sweeping backhand volley, and then broke back before moving 6-5 in front.

Krejcikova watched three match points of her own pass by at 7-6, Sakkari saving a pair with a crunching backhand winner and an ace.

Krejcikova held again with relative comfort and brought up another match point on Sakkari’s serve. A forehand from the Greek was called long, but the chair umpire dramatically overruled — even as TV replays showed the ball to be out.

Rather than dwell on her apparent hard luck, Krejcikova brought up a fifth match point, converting after three hours and 18 minutes with a backhand winner down the line.





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