Czech Barbora Krejcikova showed an amazing spirit while beating Maria Sakkari in the French Open semi-finals and reached her first Grand Slam final.
Krejcikova, 25, won 7-5 4-6 9-7 with her fifth point of the game. After saving herself in an amazing match that lasted for more than three hours.
Krejcikova thought she had won before in the final. But she was called off by the referee.
She will play against the Russian 31st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final.
“I’ve always wanted to play a game like this,” said Krejcikova. She is ranked 33rd in solo artists. And once the world’s first in doubles.
“When I was younger and playing juniors. I always wanted to play a challenging game where we both had chances. And we played very well, and only one can win.
“Even if I lose today. I will be very proud of myself because I fought. That’s the most important thing for me. To fight, here and in our own lives too.”
Pavlyuchenkova continued her brilliance late in the French Open to reach her first Grand Slam final. After beating Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek 7-5 6-3 in the Paris mud.
Pavlyuchenkova, 29, was a prominent young player. But she had never reached the Grand Slam semi-finals.
Krejcikova keeps the courage to win after the umpire’s mistake.
In an unexpected game full of twists and turns. 25-year-old Krejcikova was second-best in the competition. But somehow, she got to what turned out to be the Roland Garros classic.
After failing to turn her point of the game into the ninth match. 17-year-old Greek seed Sakkari became disillusioned. And she was unable to secure a place in the final.
That allowed Krejcikova, who had never played at his senior level. Before, to regain his composure at the crucial moments.
What is clear about the decision-making set was that it was full of important moments.
The disagreement with the drama is how the Czechs have managed to end the disappointment. After being unfairly denied four points earlier.
In the 30-40, Sakkari hit the declared front hand. And Krejcikova, who stretched out her arms in the air with a shout. Also, they thought that was long. Manager Pierre Bacchi, however, did not agree.
The Frenchman went down to the clay. And pointed to the marker when she thought the ball had hit the line.
The technology is not used on the clay to challenge calls. But testing is not proving accurate enough on the surface.
However, the replays on television seem to indicate that the ball was out. Which led to former British world number one Andy Murray saying on Twitter that Bacchi had made a “terrible mistake.”
Krejcikova pays emotional tribute to Novotna.
Krejcikova is a two-time Grand Slam champion. And on Friday will play in the women’s semi-finals with Caterina Siniakova of the Czech Republic.
While her progress at the event is not surprising. And the run to Saturday’s final is on.
Krejcikova has emphasized after her quarter-final victory over American youth Coco Gauff. that she does not want to be called a double play. But, after this memorable run, that is impossible now.
In her court interview, Krejcikova presented her success to her mentor Jana Novotna. A former Wimbledon champion who died in November 2017 from cancer.
She also thanked Jan Kodes, the 1970 and 1971 men’s champion of the French Open.
And Martina Navratilova, who won the event eight times, both native to the Czech Republic. And watching from the stands for supporting them.
“I really want to thank all my heroes. And also Jana from above,” Krejcikova said.
“She has taken care of me. And I miss her, and I want to thank her. But, because of her, I am here. And it is always very important to say it out loud.”
Pavlyuchenkova’s experience helps her.
While Pavlyuchenkova had never played at this level before. However, she had more experience and ancestry than her 23-year-old opponent Zidansek, another first semi-final player.
Pavlyuchenkova had reached six quarter-finals in the Grand Slam. Including Roland Garros in 2011. While having taken the scalps of Belarusian third seed Aryna Sabalenka.
And Grand Slam champions twice Victoria Victoria Azarenka in her last four races.
By comparison, Zidansek, who was ranked 85th, had never exceeded the second round.
She has never won a WTA title. And can be counted among the top 50 in the world. Which makes her progress even more surprising.
Slovenia beat 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in the first round. And has great potential and the ability to play in various ways. Making for an exciting semi-final for few who would dare to predict with confidence.
The exciting first set was set at 5-5 after both players broke the double serving. Pavlyuchenkova was squeezing the opening when Zidansek made a double point in Russia’s first place.
When Pavlyuchenkova finished leading 3-1 in the second set. Zidansek appeared to be in danger of falling.
But once again struggled to stop working 4-3 when Pavlyuchenkova also had two errors in the crucial moment.
However, the Russians joined forces to break the next game. And she tried to secure a place in Saturday’s final.
After Zidansek hit a quiet object in the tramlines at the first point of the match. Pavlyuchenkova showed a small feeling, and seemed shocked at the level of his success. And she was filled with sweat after a hard fight.
“I don’t really know what exactly to think right now because I’m really very tired currently. But I’m very happy. It’s a very emotional moment for us,” she said in an interview held inside of the court itself right after the game.