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Roland-Garros: Barbora Krejcikova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in a duel for the title |  Tennis News


Either Barbora Krejcikova or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will win a first Grand Slam singles title on Saturday in Paris

When Barbora Krejcikova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova set foot on the Philippe-Chatrier court on Saturday, they will have to recover quickly. The women will be in uncharted waters and both will know that they are only two (or three) sets away from fulfilling their lifelong dream.

Neither of them has ever faced each other in singles before, and neither do they know what it’s like to be alone on the pitch with a one-win Grand Slam singles title.

The unranked Krejcikova has the experience of winning Grand Slam doubles titles in her corner, and Pavlyuchenkova that of her junior Grand Slam titles and triumphs.

A first senior Grand Slam singles title would mean so much to both women. From the first round, they quietly went about their business; both knocked out higher ranked opponents and exceeded many people’s expectations of them.

Now it’s about who can work with their coaches and team to get it right, just one last time in Paris …

Krejcikova inspired and focused

Roland-Garros: Barbora Krejcikova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in a duel for the title |  Tennis News

Barbora Krejcikova withstood considerable power from Maria Sakkari in their semi-final

Krejcikova’s semi-final against Maria Sakkari will go down in Roland-Garros history as one of the best women’s semi-finals ever.

For three hours and 18 minutes, the two players clashed and clashed. Neither had reached this stage before, and Krejcikova withstood a match point, then needed five balls to defeat her tenacious opponent.

Throughout this Grand Slam, Krejcikova has spoken openly about how much the late Jana Novotna has shaped her as a person and a player.

“I really want to thank Mr. [Jan] Kodes for coming, for supporting me, “Krejcikova said after her 7-5 4-6 9-7 win over Sakkari.” He’s been texting me all week. Also, Martina Navratilova was sitting there, so thank you very much. I really appreciate this. You are my heroes.

“And also, Jana Novotna from above. She really takes care of me and I really miss her. I really want to thank her. Thanks to her, I’m here. It’s really important for me to say it aloud. voice. “

Roland-Garros: Barbora Krejcikova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in a duel for the title |  Tennis News

Throughout her run to the final, Barbora Krejcikova spoke about playing for the late Jana Novotna

Krejcikova could not get up after her victory in the semi-final, but she had to prepare for the semi-final of the women’s doubles with her partner Katerina Siniakova.

It’s a title the duo have already won in 2018, and despite the doubles (both female and mixed) adding an additional eight hours and 58 minutes of short time for Krejcikova, the Czech athlete is ready for more.

“I just think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” she said of her singles final.

“I’m really going to enjoy it, because I never expected to go this far in this tournament. I’m just going to have fun, enjoy and fight until the end.”

Barbora Krejcikova’s journey to the final

A1: Kristyna Pliskova 5-7 6-4 6-2
R2: Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2 6-3
R3: Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-2
R4: Sloane Stephens 6-2 6-0
QF: Coco Gauff 7-6 (8-6) 6-3
SF: Maria Sakkari 7-5 4-6 9-7

‘What took you so long?’

At Roland Garros 10 years ago, Pavlyuchenkova, 19, reached the quarter-finals and faced Francesca Schiavone.

At 6-1 4-1, everything was going as planned, before she lost her way and then the game. She did not know then that it would take a decade for her to reach the same stage again in Paris.

Roland-Garros: Barbora Krejcikova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in a duel for the title |  Tennis News

After being a prolific junior, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova suffered a tough quarter-final defeat at Roland Garros in 2011

By way of experience, this discordant day of 2011 could not fail to have left scars and that is perhaps why, in her semi-final against Tamara Zidansek, Pavlyuchenkova faltered on a set and 4-1.

This time, with a decade of experience to fall back on – and it wasn’t all positive – she regained her composure and carried on.

After getting the match point, Pavlyuchenkova took a moment at the baseline to take it, after all, a Grand Slam final has been a long time coming. She is the first woman to play more than 50 majors, before reaching her first final. The main draw at Roland Garros this year is its 52nd.

The 14 year old me would say, like, what took you so long? It’s hard to really talk about it right now. I do not know. It has been a long road. I had my own long and special road. Everyone has different manners. I’m just happy to be in the final and try to take advantage of it.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Pavlyuchenkova, who was the world junior No.1 at just 14 and a junior Grand Slam winner, hasn’t even given up on her goal of replicating that on the senior stage.

“As tennis players winning a Grand Slam is the only goal I think we have in mind,” she said after her semi-final victory.

“That’s why we play tennis, for us it’s the greatest achievement you can get. I think about it all the time, since I was a junior, since I was a little kid, since I I started playing tennis. That’s what you play for. It’s what you want. It’s been there, in my head, forever.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova’s road to the final

A1: Christina Mchale 6-4 6-0
R2: Ajla Tomljanovic 6-2 6-3
R3: Aryna Sabalenka 6-4 2-6 6-0
R4: Victoria Azarenka 5-7 6-3 6-2
QF: Elena Rybakina 6-7 (7-2) 6-2 9-7
SF: Tamara Zidansek 7-5 6-3

Face-to-face

When it comes to the clash of these top two Grand Slam finalists, it’s a very short story. It will be the first meeting of their singles career.

There is only one place between them in the world rankings, Pavlyuchenkova ahead of a place at 32. While the Russian has won 12 WTA singles titles, Krejcikova has only one to her credit.

Barbora Krejcikova has now won 24 matches and lost just eight in 2021. Her semi-final victory created an 11-game winning streak and she has won 13 of her last 14.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova aims to become the fourth Russian woman to win the Suzanne-Lenglen Cup. She has beaten 37 top 10 players in her career, but has yet to reach the top 10 herself.

The duo have met twice in doubles, once in 2018 in Miami and most recently in Prague last year. In both cases, Krejcikova and Siniakova defeated Pavlyuchenkova and her partner.

The first two inches …

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this women’s final will be how the two women mentally deal with the occasion as they leap into the unknown and the stakes are higher than ever.

For Pavlyuchenkova it was a very long time coming, while Krejcikova also had to show considerable patience to embark on a career in singles, having broken through so early in doubles.

Roland-Garros: Barbora Krejcikova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in a duel for the title |  Tennis News

The coach of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is her brother Aleksandr Pavlyuchenkov

Both women have important points to prove and both have points of difference to build on.

Pavlyuchenkova has a great forehand and variety at her side, while Krejcikova has shown against Sakkari that she can absorb power and force an opponent to be uncomfortable, with very high groundstrokes back. . Krejcikova’s doubles prowess also gives her the softest hands and feel at net.

So, which athlete will be able to pull on the right levers, at the right time, in the pressure cauldron that is a Roland-Garros final?

Pavlyuchenkova worked with a sports psychologist, Krejcikova is clearly inspired by those on her team and unfortunately those who are no longer there.

If there has ever been a sporting competition that could be decided by the first two inches, then this is it.

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