Barbora Krejcikova wins maiden Grand Slam title at Roland-Garros

The Czech won her maiden Grand Slam title with a 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 victory over Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Barbora Krejcikova, Roland-Garros 2021
  • What happened: Barbora Krejcikova became the 18th active Grand Slam champion on the WTA Tour.
  • You will also learn: What Krejcikova has in common with Naomi Osaka.
  • Why you should read this report: Pavlyuchenkova is the first woman to play more than 50 Majors without reaching the final.

For the sixth year in a row, a first-time Grand Slam winner was crowned at Roland-Garros. This time it was Barbora Krejcikova, winning 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Now on a 12-match win streak in singles having won in Strasbourg last month, this was only her fifth singles main draw at a major – and she joined Hana Mandlikova as the only Czech women to lift the trophy in Paris during the Open Era.

“I’m super happy that I was able to enjoy it today,” said an emotional Krejcikova on court afterwards. “I’m just really happy.

“It’s hard to put words together right now, because I just cannot believe what happened. I cannot believe I won a Grand Slam.”

She paid tribute to her late coach and mentor Jana Novotna, saying: “Her last words [to me] were enjoy and just try to win a Grand Slam…all of this two weeks is because she is looking after me from up there.”

Krejcikova stuttered in the opening game, with two double faults helping the 31st seed to the early break.

But the Czech broke right back and after that the first set was all one-way traffic as she settled into the occasion. She found the confidence to mix up her shots and the Russian was left flummoxed as Krejcikova won six games on the bounce to take the first set 6-1.

Pavlyuchenkova regrouped at the start of the second, coming back from break point down to win six points in a row and take a quick 3-0 lead thanks to some consistently clean and powerful strikes. While 5-2 up in the second set, she called for medical assistance, complaining of a problem with her left leg. With it heavily taped, she returned to action and proceeded to break the Krejcikova serve once again to take it 6-2 and force the decider.

Krejcikova took a lengthy comfort break before the final-set shoot-out, but her inroad into the Pavlyuchenkova serve was gifted to her in the third game courtesy of a double fault. Then the 29-year-old broke right back, taking her third break point with a delightful forehand winner.

Krejcikova moved into a 4-3 lead with a beautiful break to love, pumping her fist quietly as she took to her chair, and two games later Pavlyuchenkova saved two match points to force her opponent to serve it out.

The 25-year-old double-faulted on her third championship point – but took the fourth to become the second straight major champion to win the title after being down at least one match point in the tournament herself – which she was in the semi-final against Maria Sakkari. Naomi Osaka won the Australian Open at the start of the year after saving two match points in the Round of 16.

Krejcikova received the Coupe Suzanne-Lenglen from the legendary Martina Navratilova – and she now has another trophy in her sights. She plays the women’s doubles final alongside long-time partner Katerina Siniakova against Iga Swiatek and Bethanie Mattek-Sands on Sunday.

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