Barbora Krejcikova Thanks Martina Navratilova For her Support, Breaks Down After Reaching French Open Finals

Published 06/10/2021, 3:07 PM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 10, 2021 Czech Republic’s Barbora Krejcikova celebrates winning her semi final match against Greece’s Maria Sakkari REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The women’s singles draw at the French Open continued to be unpredictable right from the start of the tournament. Just like last year, a new women’s singles champion will be crowned on Saturday when Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova meets the winner of Maria Sakkari and Barbora Krejcikova in the finals.


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Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 10, 2021 Greece’s Maria Sakkari in action during her semi final match against Czech Republic’s Barbora Krejcikova REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

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Sakkari, who had a tough draw in the lead up to semis, overpowered the likes of Elise Mertens, Sofia Kenin, and the defending champion, Iga Swiatek. With her powerful baseline game, the Greek player dismantled her opponents despite a three-set scare from Mertens in the third-round.

On the other hand, Barbora Krejcikova also stunned top players like Elina Svitolina, Sloane Stephens, and Coco Gauff before reaching the semis. With their valiant efforts in the initial round, both these players deserved to be in the semi-finals of Roland Garros.

Let’s see how the match progressed.

A nervous Maria Sakkari loses the first set to Barbora Krejcikova at the French Open

Displaying her aggressive baseline game right from the start, Sakkari got the first break of the match. In the first few games of the first set, the Greek player was all over Krejcikova as the latter struggled to find the right rhythm to tackle Sakkari.

As the set progressed, Sakkari’s level took a hit. Realizing this, the Czech player stepped up her game and attacked the Greek’s backhand to consolidate the break point.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 10, 2021 Czech Republic’s Barbora Krejcikova in action during her semi final match against Greece’s Maria Sakkari REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

Since then, the duo exchanged a couple of breaks more and leveled the set 5-5. A crucial service hold from the Czech player in the 11th game put the pressure on Sakkari to stay in the set.

Unfortunately, the Greek succumbed to the pressure as she made two untimely errors and a double fault to gift the set to Krejcikova, 5-7. Nerves got the better of Sakkari in the first set.

Sakkari overpowered Krejcikova in the second set

Even in the second set, the momentum kept shifting between Sakkari and Krejcikova. While it was the Greek who got the first break and got a quick lead of 4-0, a dip in her level gave the advantage back to the Czech.

Krejcikova won the next three games. Whenever there is a chance, the duo decided to outsmart the other by hitting winners rather than engaging in long, baseline rallies.

With the Czech player getting herself back to the game, Sakkari faced the heat once again as she served for the set at 5-4. Krejcikova took the game to deuce after a couple of backhand winners. Unlike the previous set, the Greek player managed to close the set with a backhand volley.

The duo produced two tight sets and it’s difficult to pick the winner as the match had a lot of shifts in momentum between the two players.

Barbora Krejcikova survived a tough battle against Sakkari to reach the French Open final

On court Philippe-Chatrier, a vast majority of the crowd were rooting for Maria Sakkari to reach the finals. In fact, the crowd support helped Sakkari win a tightly contested second set.

The Greek was expecting the same energy from her fans in the stadium. They didn’t disappoint as Sakkari took the lead against Krejcikova in the third-set as well.

But, the Czech player’s relentless defense didn’t allow Maria Sakkari to get away with a lead. At the right moment, Krejcikova pushed Sakkari into playing long rallies and extracted errors from the Greek.

Unlike the first two sets, Sakkari didn’t yield to the pressure from the Czech as she took a healthy lead of 3-1 in the third set. However, Krejcikova managed to hold her serve and keep the score as close as possible.

The Greek player was just a game from reaching her first grand slam final after winning the 8th game in third set. At 3-5 down in the set, Krejcikova faced a match point. But, the Czech player saved it with a huge first-serve and forced Sakkari to serve for the match.

Serving for the match at 5-4, Sakkari couldn’t close out the match after an incredible defense game from the Czech. After this, both players kept winning their service games.

At 6-7 in the set, Sakkari had a vulnerable service game as she gave two match points to Krejcikova. But, two backhand winners made ensured the Greek saved both of them.

Sakkari encouraged the crowd to cheer for her when she saved a third match point with an ace. She held her service game and leveled the score,7-7. The pressure was back on the Greek once again as she served to stay in the match at 7-8 down. She faced 4th match point after hitting a double-fault.

When the Greek hit a forehand which landed right on the baseline, Krejcikova thought it was out and began to celebrate the victory. But, the umpire ruled against the Czech in what could be considered a turning point of the match.

But, Krejcikova didn’t bother as she continued her relentless defense against Sakkari. In her fifth match point opportunity, an error from Sakkari’s forehand ensured an enthralling victory for Barbora Krejcikova.

In the on-court interview soon after her victory, the young Czech player broke down and thanked the legendary Martina Navratilova amongst others for playing a huge role in her victory.


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After a mouth-watering semi-final, Barbora Krejcikova will meet Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the finals of French Open 2021. It was a great run indeedy by the Czech tennis player. Also, the incredible fight put up by Maria Sakkari must be lauded.


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Sagar Ashtakoula

323 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.