Barbora Krejcikova outlasted Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to win her maiden Slam title on Saturday at the French Open. The 25-year-old won 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 in an hour and 58 minutes. The Czech started the match on a nervy note, losing her opening service game to her opponent.
However, tables quickly turned as she settled into a rhythm even as Pavlyuchenkova seemed to be struggling with the significance of the match. Krejcikova’s shots driven towards the corners helped her add to her winner count while Pavlyuchenkova mistiming hers cost her in the form of errors.
The only game the 31st seed won in the opening set was off the break she received in the first game of the set. Thereafter, she lost her serve thrice across the set to concede it in just 30 minutes. Pavlyuchenkova’s jitters extended into the initial moments of the second set and she saved a break point before holding her serve to start the set.
But as the set progressed, she was the one who looked to be comfortable playing rather than her opponent. She was able to control and dictate her shots better while drawing out the errors from her opponent. In the seventh game while serving for the set, the world no.
32 was broken and at the end of the game had to take a medical time-out to treat her upper left thigh that she’d tweaked while reaching for a point in the previous game. However, she didn’t lose traction when play resumed and broke Krejcikova for the third time in the set on her first set point to level the match.
French Open: Barbora Krejcikova claims it all
In the final set, Pavlyuchenkova’s nerves once again came into play. Her shots once again started misfiring while Krejcikova looked to have reined in her nerves. However, momentum oscillated between the two players in the first four games of the set.
Krejcikova went up a break in the third game but was broken right back. Nonetheless, as the set went on, Krejcikova began to dominate the baseline rallies once again. Pavlyuchenkova did her best to stay in the set but she went down a second break in the seventh game and this time around, while Krejcikova’s serve was tested while she tried to consolidate, she didn’t yield and held on to go up 5-3 in the set.
Serving to stay in the match, Pavlyuchenkova faced two championship points but two good serves helped her to hold on to her serve and have her opponent serve for the match. In the 10th game, while a double fault put paid to Krejcikova’s third championship point, an unforced error from Pavlyuchenkova closed out the match proceedings while proclaiming Krejcikova as the 2021 French Open champion.
Krejcikova hit 34 winners and had almost the same number of unforced errors (31). Pavlyuchenkova, meanwhile, had 23 winners and 16 unforced errors. The differential between winners and unforced errors was in the negative for the younger player in the second set, where she hit seven winners and 11 unforced errors.
Barbora Krejcikova’s the sixth different player to claim the title in Paris in the last six years (going back to 2016). She’s also the first Czech to win the French Open since Hana Mandlikova in 1981. This win also marks Krejcikova’s 12th consecutive match win going back to the Strasbourg International title right before Roland Garros.