Czech player Barbora Krejcikova had gone into the French Open having played just four Grand Slam singles tournaments. Her best result coming at the 2020 French Open where she reached the fourth round.
For those paying attention she showed what might lay ahead when she won the Strasbourg WTA 250 title at the end of May but to dream of a Grand Slam title seem far fetched.
World no. 33 Krejcikova was lining up against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the world no. 32. Pavlyuchenkova was into her first Grand Slam final after more than 50 attempts. She had only managed to reached the quarterfinals on six occasions without advancing.
Both players had been on court more than most after some long matches in singles and also both had done well in doubles, especially Krejcikova who is into the women’s doubles final with her partner Katerina Siniakova.
As the final started it would be interesting to see who would handle the pressure the best. Krejcikova had at least been on the big stage several times in doubles.
Pavlyuchenkova immediately saw herself looking at three break point opportunities in the opening game, she would convert for the perfect start, but then it was all Krejcikova in the opening set.
Krejcikova ran off six straight games to claim the opening set 6-1.
Pavlyuchenkova managed to hold serve to start the second set, followed by a break and another hold to take a 3-0 lead.
Another break of the Krejcikova serve came in the sixth game to see the Russian move to a 5-1 lead.
Back-to-back breaks then saw Pavlyuchenkova take the second set 6-2.
Now with the title coming down to the third set it was Krejcikova who got the first break of serve in the third game for a 2-1 lead.
Pavlyuchenkova fought back with a break and a hold to move ahead on serve to 3-2. Krejcikova wasn’t going away and she held to love to level the scores.
Krejcikova then took hold of the set when she broke to love and then held serve to be just one game away from a fairytale victory.
Two match points were saved by Pavlyuchenkova in the ninth game before she managed to hold serve and put the pressure back on her Czech opponent who would have to serve out the match.
Krejcikova moved to 40-15 and held two championship points. A double fault delayed the victory for a moment before a forced error from Pavlyuchenkova ended the match after one hour and 58 minutes.
“It’s really hard to put the words together right now because so many emotions, so many things going through my mind,” Krejcikova said in her post-match press conference. “It’s something I have always dreamed about, winning here, my first doubles title, then some doubles title, then winning the mixed ones.
“Now I was just telling myself, `It would be really nice if I can get the Grand Slam in all three categories.’ Now it’s happening. I cannot believe it. Now it’s happening. Wow.”
After the final Pavlyuchenkova said, “The most important I think is to believe in yourself,” she told reporters. “Even, like, I tell you like I didn’t expect that this tournament, this Roland Garros, `I’ll be in the final.’ Again I tell you, like, physically I wasn’t feeling super great, like ready 100 percent.
“Still, because of fighting and believing, you can still achieve it.”
On Monday, Krejcikova will be ranked at no.15, a rapid rise of 101 spots in nine months.
Krejcikova isn’t finished yet, she has the doubles final on Sunday.
Update: Barbora Krejcikova has become the first woman to sweep Roland Garros titles since Mary Pierce in 2000. She teamed up with fellow Czech player Katerina Siniakova to defeat Iga Swiatek and Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-4, 6-2.