Barbora Krejcikova defeats Maria Sakkari to reach the final of the French Open.
Barbora Krejcikova survived a match point in one of the most dramatic semi-finals of the French Open to defeat Maria Sakkari and advance to the final against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
After a 7-5 4-6 9-7 triumph that lasted three hours and 18 minutes and was dripping with suspense throughout, Czech Krejcikova became the fourth unseeded finalist at Roland Garros in the last five years.
At 3-5 in the last set, the 25-year-old saved a match point before taking her fifth chance with a calm backhand winner down the line.
She said, “I’ve always wanted to play a match like this.” “It was such a difficult encounter, and we both had our chances. We’ve both been playing exceptionally well, and only one of us can emerge victorious. I would have been proud of myself even if I had lost today because I was fighting, and I believe that is the most important thing.”
After thanking her fans in the stands, Krejcikova paid respect to the late Jana Novotna, who coached her before the former Wimbledon champion died of cancer in 2017 at the age of 49.
“As well as Jana Novotna from upstairs,” Krejcikova added, her eyes welling up with tears. “She was genuinely concerned about my well-being. I miss her terribly and want to express my gratitude to her. It’s critical for me to speak this out loud.”
In the third set, the rallies were so tense that both players appeared to be struggling to stroke the ball, but Krejcikova is the less passionate, more steady player, and that proved to be the difference in the end.
At 6-7, Sakkari saved three match points, and the drama reached new heights when Krejcikova thought she had taken her fourth chance two games later, only for the umpire to rule Sakkari’s shot had crossed the line – a decision that HawkEye, which is used by TV companies but not the tournament, disagreed with.
In comparison, Pavlyuchenkova’s 7-5 6-3 victory over Tamara Zidansek was almost routine.
The 29-year-old Russian broke a new record by reaching her first grand slam final in her 52nd tournament.
Pavlyuchenkova was the number one junior in the world. (This is a brief piece.)