Roland-Garros: Barbora Krejcikova beats Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the roller coaster final and wins the first grand slam

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The 25-year-old, ranked outside the world top 100 just over a year ago, became the first Czech player to win a Grand Slam singles title since Petra Kvitova won her second Wimbledon trophy in 2014.

The first two sets switched from player to player so much that it was impossible to pick a winner before the deciding set, but Krejcikova held on to outlive her opponent, who started to get injured towards the end of the game. second set.

Krejcikova’s celebration was surprisingly quiet when Pavlyuchenkova struck her long last blow, but the emotion came out in her post-match interview.

“I just want to thank everyone for coming out today and cheering us on,” she said. There has been the most support and energy and during the bad times of this pandemic and it’s nice to see you all here. The atmosphere was amazing and I’m super happy I got to enjoy it today in front of you and … I’m just really happy.

Barbora Krejcikova celebrates after winning the Roland Garros singles title.
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“I want to thank my team, my coach, my physio, my friends, everyone at home, my family, mom, dad, brothers, niece and nephew. It’s really hard to put the words together right now. , I just can’t believe what happened, I can’t believe I won a grand slam.

“I was going through a rough time when (former Czech tennis player) Jana Novotna passed away. Her last words were something like, ‘Take advantage and try to win a grand slam.’ Pretty much all of this is because she is looking down (on me). She was such an inspiration, I really miss her and hope she is happy right now. I am extremely happy. “

The next step for Krejcikova is the small affair of Sunday’s women’s doubles final, where she will try to add a third doubles grand slam title alongside her partner Katerina Siniakova.

She will seek to become the first player to win both titles in the same year since Mary Pierce achieved the feat in 2000.

Surprise finalists

Non-seeded Krejcikova and 31st seeded Pavlyuchenkova both upset a few big names in their shock races to Saturday’s final.

With both players appearing in their first Grand Slam singles final, the way they each handled the nerves of the occasion was going to very much decide the outcome of the game.

Pavlyuchenkova appeared to go through the process the fastest and got off to a blast start, hitting the ball cleanly and with determination, which earned her a break of serve in the first game of the game.

Krejcikova, however, remained calm and snapped back, with the game-winning point coming from a sumptuous lob that showcased her touch as a doubles specialist.

Barbora Krejcikova made her way through the first set.

The Czech star is admittedly best known for her exploits on the doubles circuit, where she reached world number 1 and won two Grand Slam titles, including one here at Roland Garros, but the past two weeks have shown her true potential. on a singles court.

Krejcikova, who won her first WTA singles title heading into the tournament, played five more games in a row to win the opening set 6-1 in just 32 minutes.

After a quick start, Pavlyuchenkova looked lost and out of depth on Philippe-Chatrier and she should make a significant improvement in the second set to prevent it from becoming a complete retirement.

It was imperative that she started the second set like she did the first, and a courageous serve take – after losing a grueling 20-move rally – set the tone for what would be a very different set.

Suddenly Pavlyuchenkova had regained her range and confidence and broke Krejcikova’s serve before opening a 3-0 lead early in the second.

The Russian then took a 5-1 lead and appeared to have finished the second set, but was broken by Krejcikova and appeared to wince in pain as she stretched for her shots.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova receives a medical time out in the second set.

At the end of the match, she took a medical time out and her right thigh was tightly tied; the treatment clearly worked and she came back to win the set and tie the game to set up an intriguing decision maker.

The momentum had shifted so much in the first two sets that it was impossible to sense in which direction this match was going to go.

Krejcikova was visibly frustrated with the way she was playing, but still managed to hold her crucial opening serve game, playing a smart shot that injured Pavlyuchenkova wasn’t close to hitting.

The pair traded service breaks and a tense third set – already much more competitive than the previous two – was tied at 2-2.

For the first time, the Roland Garros crowd began to line up behind the players as they began to play arguably the most entertaining tennis of the final.

The decisive moment came two games later with the scores tied at 3-3. Serving at 0-30, Pavlyuchenkova could only watch in awe of Krejcikova crushing a superb backhand down the line to give himself three break points.

She only needed the first, hitting an equally brilliant forehand into the same corner to regain the lead in this game.

Krejcikova kept her cool to win her next service match, before forcing Pavlyuchenkova to register two league points while serving to stay in the game.

In the end, it only delayed the inevitable as Krejcikova watched her opponent’s savage forehand sail past the baseline and raised her hands to the sky in celebration.

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