Barbora Krejcikova to face Anastasia Paylyuchenkova in French Open final after scraping past Sakkari in Roland Garros epic

Jonathan Davies in French Open 10 Jun 2021
Krejcikova overcame Sakkari in a thrilling finale at Roland Garros (Credit Image: © Dppi/LPS via ZUMA Press)

Barbora Krejcikova will play Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the 2021 French Open final after prevailing in an epic three-hour battle with Maria Sakkari 7-5 4-6 9-7 at Roland Garros.

Appearing in just her fifth Slam singles main draw, world number 33 Krejcikova was in danger at 5-3 down in the deciding set, but rescued a match point to prolong the dramatic battle.

Then despite seeing five match points of her own go begging, the Czech held her nerve to move one win away from becoming the first female singles champion from her nation at Roland Garros since Martina Navratilova in 1984.

Krejcikova, who also appears alongside Katerina Siniakova in the semi-finals of the women’s doubles on Friday, remains on course to complete a double in Paris for the first time since home favourite Mary Pierce achieved the feat in 2000.

It was a day of firsts for the semi-finalists; all of whom were making their maiden appearances in the last four of a Slam.

Despite trailing 3-1 in the opening set after the first three games went against the serve, Krejcikova bounced back by winning six of the next eight to land the first blow of the contest.

Sakkari, who defeated 2020 finalists Iga Swiatek and Sofia Kenin in her previous two matches, also made the early running in the second set, but this time saw it out 6-4 to set up a decider.

Aiming to become the first Slam winner from Greece, the 17th seed broke early once more and moved to the brink of victory at 5-3 up.

But Krejcikova – a doubles champion here in 2018 – saved a match point and broke in the 10th to get back on serve at 5-5.

It was neck and neck as the next four games were shared with Sakkari saving five match points along the way.

However, it was sixth time lucky for the Czech, who wrapped up victory with a sweeping forehand after just over three-and-a-quarter hours.

Standing in her way of a maiden singles title is Pavlyuchenkova, who overcame Tamara Zidansek in straight sets 7-5 6-3.

The 29-year-old is now just one victory away from becoming the oldest first-time Slam winner of the Open era.

The 31st seed, who climbs back into the world’s top 20 as a result, combated her opponent’s powerful forehand as she took a closely fought opening set.

An early break in the second then saw the 12-time ATP title winner establish authority on proceedings, pulling clear at 4-1.

Thereon, the Russian held her nerve to seal the deal and remain on course to become the first Slam winner from her nation since Maria Sharapova’s Roland Garros triumph in 2014.

Earlier in the day, America’s Desirae Krawcyzk and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain claimed the mixed doubles title after beating the Russian pair of Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev in a tie-break.

Despite a slow start that saw them losing the opening set 6-2, Krawczyk and Salisbury responded well to take the second 6-4 before dominating the decider 10-5.

A maiden Slam for Krawczyk, while Salisbury became the first British player to triumph in the French Open doubles since John Lloyd claimed the title alongside Wendy Turnbull in 1982.

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French Open 2021 Results

Thursday, June 10

Court Philippe Chatrier

Mixed Doubles Final

Desirae Krawczyk/Joe Salisbury 2-6, 6-4, 10-5 Elena Vesnina/Aslan Karatsev

Women’s Singles Semi-Finals

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 6-3 Tamara Zidansek
Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 4-6, 9-7 Maria Sakkari

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