News Sports

French Open 2021: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova takes on Barbora Krejcikova in final

3 min read

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Barbora Krejcikova


A new Grand Slam singles champion will be crowned on Saturday when Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova takes on Barbora Krejcikova in the French Open final.

This is the furthest either player has reached in their singles careers, though Czech Krejcikova is also into the doubles final at Roland Garros.

Russian Pavlyuchenkova was a dominant junior player but had never previously made it beyond the quarters.

"It was just up and down in terms of results," said Pavlyuchenkova.

"I had a lot of doubts because I could beat top-10 players and make the quarter-final of a major – I was very close to semi-finals a couple times – but then it wouldn't happen."

But now it has happened for the 31st seed, after she saw off Slovenia's Tamara Zidansek 7-5 6-3 in the semi-final on the clay.

Anastasia PavlyuchenkovaAnastasia Pavlyuchenkova has won 12 WTA titles in a successful professional career, but had never previously been beyond the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam

Pavlyuchenkova has also taken the scalps of Belarusian third seed Aryna Sabalenka and two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka in her run to a first major final.

Pavlyuchenkova previously reached the at last eight in Paris in 2011 and her win over Sabalenka was the 37th she has recorded against a top-10 player – a record for a player yet to reach the top 10 themselves.

At 29, the former junior world number one finally has the chance to get her hands on a major trophy – asked what a 14-year-old her would have thought, she responded: "What took you so long?"

Krejcikova will not feel any nerves

Barbora Krejcikova celebrates winning her French Open semi-finalBarbora Krejcikova reached the fourth round of last year's French Open but otherwise had only won two main-draw singles matches at the majors before this run

Standing in the Russian's way is a player she has never come up against before in world number 33 Krejcikova, someone more renowned for her doubles expertise.


The Czech already has two Grand Slam doubles titles to her name and on Sunday has the opportunity to win a third alongside compatriot Katerina Siniakova when they take on Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Iga Swiatek.

This is just her fifth appearance in the main singles draw and Krejcikova only broke into the top 100 in the past 12 months, but the 25-year-old has knocked out four seeds – Ekaterina Alexandrova, Elina Svitolina, Coco Gauff and Maria Sakkari – en route to the final.

The former doubles world number one held her nerve to win an enthralling semi-final against Sakkari 7-5 4-6 9-7 on her fifth match point – after saving one herself.

"The thing is that I'm calm on the inside too," she said afterwards. "I don't get nervous. So what comes out of me is actually what is happening inside of me. I'm glad I have that."

Krejcikova dedicated her success to her mentor Jana Novotna, the former Wimbledon champion who died in November 2017 from cancer.

She also thanked Jan Kodes, the 1970 and 1971 French Open men's champion, and 18-time major singles winner Martina Navratilova, who were both born in the Czech Republic and watching from the stands, for their support.

"I appreciate all my heroes and I thank Jana from upstairs," said Krejcikova.

"She looked after me and I really miss her and I want to thank her. Because of her I'm here and it is really important to say it out loud."

Live scores, results and order of playAlerts: Get tennis news sent to your phone


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *