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Bageled in opener, Krejcikova saves seven match points to defeat Kontaveit at Sydney

After suffering a first set bagel at the hands of Anett Kontaveit, Barbora Krejcikova saved seven match points in the third to notch a dramatic victory at Sydney

Barbora Krejcikova Barbora Krejcikova at Sydney Tennis Classic

After dropping the first seven games of her semi-final encounter with Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit, it would have been understandable if Barbora Krejcikova sleepwalked to the finish line, trying to get off the court as quickly as possible so that she could turn her attention to next week’s Australian Open.

But the Czech is a tennis player that lives to honour the game. There’s pep – not sleep – in her step, no matter the circumstance. Rather than hang her head, Krejcikova dug in deeper and did her best to find her way back into the match. Win or lose, by forcing her way into a third set with Kontaveit, the world No 4 had already done herself a favour by sharpening her problem solving skills and stiffening her resolve in the face of adversity – a skill that will no doubt come in handy next week when the pressure ratchets up another notch at the “Happy Slam” in Melbourne.

But wait, there’s more!

With that project complete, Krejcikova managed to finish the deal by creating a dramatic, memorable victory that saw her save seven match points (three in the final game of the decider and another four in the third-set tiebreak) as she edged Kontaveit 0-6, 6-4, 7-6(12).

Krejcikova saved match points at 6-7, 8-9, 9-10 and 11-12 in the tiebreak to improve to 3-0 on the young season. She wasn’t the only player battling tooth and nail on Friday night in Sydney. Kontaveit saved four match points in the tiebreaker as well. The Estonian, who had won her only previous meeting against Krejcikova at last year’s WTA Finals in Guadalajara, finally missed a forehand long to end the brilliant contest in two hours and 30 minutes.

Streak snapped

Krejcikova also snapped a five-match losing streak against the top-10 with her victory. It was her fifth career top-10 victory against eleven losses, and the triumph will no doubt help the Czech gain some comfort as she attempts to back up a breakout 2021 season that saw her win her first major singles title at Roland-Garros and rise 60 spots in the rankings to a year-end ranking of five in the world.

Krejcikova will face either No 8-ranked Paula Badosa or Daria Kasatkina (26) in Saturday’s final at Sydney, as she bids for her fourth career singles title.

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