After shock losses, sudden withdrawals and several history-making moments the Women’s Singles tournament at the 2021 French Open has crowned its winner, 25-year-old Barbora Krejčíková.
Entering the grand slam at 33rd in the world expectations weren’t high for Krejčíková in the singles competition, a proficient doubles player, she has five grand slam titles to her name, in both Women’s and mixed doubles but singles had been a weak spot for her for some time.
Having never played at the US Open or Wimbledon, Krejčíková’s fifth singles Grand Slam was one filled with firsts, having never made it past the fourth round of a major before, and it all culminated in the final against Russian hopeful Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
In a similar position, the 31st seed Pavlyuchenkova had never reached a semi-final before the 2021 French Open and yet despite the difficult path to make it out of her bracket, having to play Belarusian superstars, Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka in successive matches, she reached the final in style.
It looked set to be an even match for the final, both players had come up against high ranked and elite clay court players and both were coming in off more than one three-set match for the tournament.
The first set was all Krejčíková, after a nervous first game which saw her broken by Pavlyuchenkova, the Czech player rallied winning the next six despite the Russian’s best efforts.
Rarely putting a foot wrong, Krejčíková hit two aces for the set and was convincing at the net whenever she came forward.
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The script was quickly flipped in the second set, taking control immediately, Pavlyuchenkova won the first three games, quickly breaking Krejčíková’s serve following a five-minute battle to hold her own in the first game.
Krejčíková didn’t pick up until the change of ends, quickly holding her serve before once again testing the Russian but was unable to close out the game and be back on serve.
It was an entertaining end to the third set with neither playing holding serve in drawn-out games, most notably the seventh game of the set that went for four and a half minutes as Krejčíková hit fought to remain in the set.
With momentum swinging back and forth it was hard to say who would take a hold of the third set. Neither player looked like the nerves surrounding the occasion were getting to them.
It wasn’t until the sixth game of the third that Krejčíková looked ready to close the match out, holding her serve in a 40-love game and then stealing the break from the Russian in a second consecutive 40-love game. She then saw off the challenge to her own service game with her own errors keeping Pavlyuchenkova in the game.
From there Krejčíková only had to win one more game to win the title and she threatened to do so in the very next game but Pavlyuchenkova wasn’t done and managed to see off two championship points.
Krejčíková’s final service game looked like it would be another easy one, but nerves caught her for a moment when she led 40-15, double-faulting and looking like she might give Pavlyuchenkova a look in, however, she managed to steady herself long enough to take the last point and the Women’s Singles title.
The 2021 French Open is Krejčíková’s second WTA singles title, the first coming last month on clay in Strasbourg. She is now on a 12 match winning streak and just weeks away from her debut appearance at Wimbledon.
Krejčíková could very well leave Paris with two major titles in her hands, looking to take the Women’s Doubles title with partner Kateřina Siniaková when they face Iga Świątek and Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the final.