Krejcikova gets the best of Gauff to reach Roland-Garros semi-finals
The Czech beat the rising star of women’s tennis 7-6(6), 6-3 to reach her first Grand Slam singles semi-final
- What happened: Barbora Krejcikova showed a nerveless display to move to her first Slam singles semi-final.
- You will also learn: How Krejcikova handed out Gauff’s first loss to a player outside the Top 30 on clay this year.
- Why you should read this: Krejcikova now has five wins against American opposition in 2021.
Barbora Krejcikova defeated the much-touted Coco Gauff to reach the 2021 Roland-Garros semi-finals, coming through 7-6(6), 6-3.
“I’m very happy!” she said on court afterwards, thanking the fans: “You gave us more energy today…. I never imagined I would be standing here one day, playing on this court — especially singles. This is something I’ve never dreamed of.”
It looked likely to be a fascinatingly close encounter, with both players on a nine-match win streak – both had won their lead-up tournaments to Roland-Garros, Krejcikova in Strasbourg, Gauff in Parma.
But the 17-year-old showed signs early on of domination – she was 3-0 up, which she let slip, but even so she later had three set points that Krejcikova rescued with courageous hitting. The first set went to a tie-break – the Czech’s first of the tournament, the American’s third.
The 25-year-old looked strongest in the opening exchanges in the breaker but lost her momentum when a shout from the crowd distracted her just before she struck the ball.
And to conclude a 70-minute opening set, Krejcikova hit a trio of impressive forehand winners and took her first set point on her serve to move ahead, leaving Gauff to rue her quintet of missed chances.
Perhaps that was weighing on her mind as they moved into the second set, with Krejcikova breaking her twice to move to a 4-0 lead. Gauff smashed her racquet with rage after the double-break and got the inevitable warning from the umpire.
It did not disturb a very calm Krejcikova, a former world doubles No 1, who enjoyed a streak of winning 15 points out of 16 as she stretched out to 5-0 ahead.
Krejcikova served out to give herself triple match point, but dropped all three of them, sending the final one painfully wide, and Gauff capitalised to break en route to three games in a row.
But Krejcikova did not allow it to distract her from the task in hand, eventually serving out her sixth match point to move into the final four.
“I thought to myself, ‘Just go for every ball, just play, just enjoy,'” Krejcikova said afterwards. “I was playing a really great match. Coco is incredible – I wish her all the best. Her time is going to come.”