French Open 2021: Krejcikova or Pavlyuchenkova – who will emerge as the Roland Garros Queen in Paris?

While Krejcikova had to sweat it out to beat Sakkari in the semifinals in a match that went on for more than three hours, Pavlyuchenkova had a comparatively easy, straight-set victory over Zidansek.

French Open 2021: Krejcikova or Pavlyuchenkova - who will emerge as the Roland Garros Queen in Paris?
Krejcikova had to give her best in the semis, while Pavlyuchenkova won in straight sets. (Photo credit: AFP)

Barbora Krejcikova, a two-time major doubles champion ranked 33rd, is all set to play her first Grand Slam singles final on Saturday. She will be up against 31st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, for whom it is the first-ever Grand Slam final ever, in any event. Krejcikova has till the semifinals lost only two sets of the 14 that she has played, while Pavlyuchenkova has dropped only three out of 15. Both the ladies are now deservedly in the finals and will look to bag their maiden singles Grand Slam.

Krejcikova had to work very hard in the semifinals against 17th seed Maria Sakkari that went on for beyond three hours, where the former won 7-5, 4-6, 9-7. She had to get through the longest women’s semifinal match in the history of the Roland Garros.

After winning, she flung her hands wide above her head and her mouth dropped open in bewilderment. For someone who had not thought of taking up the sport professionally till she was 16, getting into the finals of a Grand Slam is indeed a massive achievement.

Making full use of her opportunities

Krejcikova wasn’t a regular in the Grand Slam circuit, given her earlier rankings. But after last year’s French Open, where several players had dropped out, she got a chance to compete and improved her ranking within the top 100.

The 25-year-old from the Czech Republic has now won 11 consecutive matches, including her first WTA singles title in May in Strasbourg. Krejcikova is the fourth unseeded women’s finalist at the Roland Garros in the last five years. She would look to become the first Czech woman to win French Open since 1981.

If she goes on to win the title, Krejcikova will also become the first woman to win both in doubles and singles at the French Open since 2000.

Grand Slam final after 52 appearances

For Pavlyuchenkova, things brightened up late but how. After playing 52 majors, the Russian has finally made it into a final. She last competed in a French Open final back in 2006, as a 15-year-old junior. 15 years later, she stands at another final, this time as a senior.

She moved into the finals with a straight-set win over Tamara Zidansek, taking just over an hour. Pavlyuchenkova is the first woman to play more than 50 majors before reaching her first final and also the first Russian woman to reach a Grand Slam final since 2015. If she wins on Saturday, she will become the first Russian since Maria Sharapova seven years ago in Paris to win a Grand Slam.

A prodigy who failed to blossom initially

Pavlyuchenkova has been the top-ranked tennis player in the world as a junior and a winner of three Grand Slam girls’ titles. She made the third round at Wimbledon in 2008, in what was her second Grand Slam. She reached the semifinals at Indian Wells as a 17-year-old beating the likes of former World No. 1 Jelena Jankovic.

She reached her first major quarterfinals at Roland Garros in 2011. Pavlyuchenkova made the quarterfinals at Grand Slams six times but could not go beyond.

The pandemic effect 

When Covid-19 had brought world sports to a halt, Pavlyuchenkova found herself wondering what would come next. But her older brother stood by her side and explained how it was never too late to learn. A year later, she stands within a short distance of a Grand Slam trophy.

Head-to-head

This is the first time that Krejcikova and Pavlyuchenkova will face each other.

The latter has improved her mental strength and that has played a huge role in her victories. Krejcikova on the other hand will bank on her skills, of adjusting according to the situation. She can go on to extend rallies and tire out her opponent.

What has been a success for women’s tennis over the last few years is that majors have not been confined within a best few. Several players have won in different tournaments, on different courts. This weekend also would see a new victor at the Roland Garros.

 

Also Read: French Open 2021: Day 11 Results and Day 12 Semi-final action – all you need to know!

Roland Garros: Player arrested for alleged match-fixing at 2020 French Open