Barbora Krejcikova, a 25-year-old Czech tagged doubles specialist until a year ago, won Roland-Garros, topping a women’s tournament upside down.
Krejcikova beat Russian veteran and another surprise finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 to become the seventh unranked women’s Grand Slam singles champion.
When asked to share her emotions, Krejcikova paused for a moment, thanked the crowd at Court Philippe Chatrier and, after a follow-up question, said: “I can’t believe what just happened. . “
Five-time Grand Slam doubles and mixed Grand Slam winner Krejcikova won her first Grand Slam main draw match last year and broke into the top 100 in singles for the first time. She hadn’t won any top 10 wins until last month.
Krejcikova, formerly coached by the Wimbledon champion at the end of 1998 Jana Novotna, a Czech compatriot, won a low-level clay court tournament in Strasbourg, France, the day before the start of the French Open.
“When Jana passed away [in 2017] I was with her most of the time, ”said Krejcikova, who received the Suzanne Lenglen Cup from the Czech-born legend. Martina Navratilova. “Basically her last words were just fun, just try to win a Grand Slam. I know from somewhere that she’s taking care of me.
“I really miss her.”
In Paris, Krejcikova has a 12-0 record between singles and doubles. She will play for another title with partner Katerina Siniakova on Sunday.
“I really don’t know how you got that courage and that power, playing in doubles and singles,” Pavlyuchenkova said.
In singles, she sailed in a draw that was otherwise defined by missing stars. The three best players in the world had all left before the third round without losing: Ash barty withdrew with a hip injury, Naomi Osaka withdrew on the grounds of sanity and Simona halep retired before the tournament with a tear in his calf.
Considering all this, Serena williams, who lost in the fourth round, could start Wimbledon in two weeks as a favorite.
However, Krejcikova’s path was not bulldozed. She released seed # 5 Elina Svitolina, vice-champion of Roland-Garros 2018 Sloane stephens and two dangerous players in the past year, seeds Coco gauff and Maria sakkari (match point at the bottom), on the way to the final.
Pavlyuchenkova, born five months before the breakup of the Soviet Union, aimed to become the third-oldest female Grand Slam champion in the open era.
She became the first woman to play more than 50 majors before reaching her first final. The former No.1 junior has lost all of her previous 12 Grand Slam quarter-finals between singles and doubles before this week. She has 37 career wins against the top 10 players, the most for a woman who has yet to reach the top 10.
“She is already a great champion,” Krejcikova said.
Pavlyuchenkova sustained an upper left leg injury in the final, taking a medical time out at the end of the second set and reportedly said she could not serve. She won five more games after that.
“At the last point, I think I was dead,” Pavlyuchenkova said. “I have no more fuel.
On Sunday, Novak Djokovic rooms Stefanos Tsitsipas in the men’s final, live on NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app at 9 a.m. ET.
Djokovic may become the first man to win all four majors twice in the open era. He can also win a 19th Grand Slam singles title, slightly surpassing the record shared by Roger Federer and Raphael Nadal.
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