In recent years, Roland Garros has become the perfect place for surprises. Rafa Nadal’s hegemony in the men’s box is opposed to the women’s tournament, where in the last six years there have been six different and first-time winners. The last of them, Barbora Krejcikova, who debuted her Grand Slam locker by beating Anasatasia Pavlyuchenkova (6-1, 2-6 and 6-4) in the final on Saturday.
The Czech won the final between the two rookies, in a game with many nerves, which was decided in the third and in which the emotion did not overflow. Krejcikova, who before this Roland Garros had never passed the round of 16 in a Grand Slam, needed just 31 minutes to score the first set. A sample of the best adaptation to the final. With only four victories in major tournaments, the Czech was planted in Paris and in the blink of an eye she already had the title within one set. Pavlyuchenkova, more veteran at 29, took advantage of the Czech’s vertigo to equalize the game, but with suspense.
When she was one game away from putting the set equal, she was treated for several minutes on the court for a problem in her left thigh. The Russian embedded a bandage, won the last game and left the final ready for a decisive set. A partial lack of level, with the nerves to the surface and in which Krejcikova was a better point to decide the final in his favor. She needed three match balls, but she clinched her first Grand Slam, becoming the 55th Open Era winner, the ninth rookie winner in the past 15 majors and the sixth straight rookie winner at Roland Garros.
The Czech succeeds Garbiñe Muguruza (2016), Jelena Ostapenko (2017), Simona Halep (2018), Ashleigh Barty (2019) and Iga Swiatek (2020), which also premiered in Paris. Krejcikova, who had already won two Grand Slam doubles, dedicated the win to 1998 Wimbledon winner Jana Novotna who passed away from cancer in 2017. “I am very lucky to have met her. I hope she’s happy wherever she is, ”Krejcikova said of her former coach.
The world number 33 will look for the double this Sunday, when she plays the doubles final with Katerina Siniakova. If successful, she would be the first woman to do so since Mary Pierce in 2000.
Tsitsipas, to the heroic
After beating Rafa Nadal in the semifinals, Novak Djokovic is one step away from the nineteenth Grand Slam, which would place him one of the Spanish and Roger Federer. The Serbian has one last obstacle left in the form of Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Greek, who could in five sets with Alexander Zverev, will have a priori the physical advantage, having had more rest, but is a rookie in these finals. He has never played a Grand Slam final and in total he has eight finals won and nine lost. On clay this record is three victories and four defeats.
Djokovic has the head-to-head advantage, dominating 5-2 and has beaten him all three times they have played on clay, including last year’s semi-finals at Roland Garros. It will be the first time since 2016 that Nadal is not in the final, precisely the last and only year that Djokovic won, who already knows what it is like to lose the final in Paris four times, three against Nadal and one against Stan Wawrinka.