French Open 2021 Women's Final: Pavlyuchenkova vs. Krejcikova Predictions

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJune 10, 2021

MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images

Either Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova or Barbora Krejcikova will capture her first career Grand Slam singles title Saturday in the 2021 French Open women's final.

Pavlyuchenkova, the tournament's No. 31 seed, reached the championship match with a straight-sets victory over Tamara Zidansek during Thursday's semifinal, while unseeded Krejcikova continued her run of upsets by knocking out 17th-seeded Maria Sakkari.

Let's check out all of the important information for Saturday's final. That's followed by a preview of the unexpected encounter and a prediction for which player will win the season's second major.

Women's Final Viewing Details

Where: Stade Roland Garros in Paris

When: Saturday, June 12 at 9 a.m. ET

Watch: NBC

Live Stream: NBC Sports Live

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Championship Match Preview

Although there's been plenty of focus on the number of upsets throughout the women's draw, which saw just one top-10 seed, Iga Swiatek, reach the quarterfinals, there was nothing easy or lucky about Krejcikova's underdog run to the final.

Here's a look at who the 25-year-old Czech rising star, who owns two Grand Slam doubles titles, beat during her solo journey at Roland Garros:

  • First Round: Kristuna Pliskova
  • Second Round: No. 32 Ekaterina Alexandrova
  • Third Round: No. 5 Elina Svitolina
  • Fourth Round: Sloane Stephens
  • Quarterfinals: No. 24 Coco Gauff
  • Semifinals: No. 17 Maria Sakkari

That's a daunting run, regardless of the surrounding circumstances, and she was forced to come up big in the clutch against Sakkari on Thursday to punch her ticket to the final.

After they split the first two sets, the third set was tied at five after Sakkari earned a break of serve. From that point forward, Krejcikova dropped just two points on serve over her final three service games and secured a break in the 16th game of the final set to advance.

It wasn't her most efficient match as she recorded 58 unforced errors, but she made some nice plays coming forward to win 76 percent of points at net (13 of 17) and she didn't flinch under the immense pressure of playing deep into the third set of a Grand Slam semifinal.

Now she'll look to secure one more win over a seeded opponent in Pavlyuchenkova, who's been on quite a run of her own.

The 29-year-old Russian scored wins over three seeded foes—No. 3 Aryna Sabalenka, No. 15 Victoria Azarenka and No. 21 Elena Rybakina—to reach her first major final. She was pushed to a third set in all three of those matches and survived each time.

She enjoyed a more routine semifinal against Zidansek and was particularly effective on the return, winning more than half the points on the Slovenian's serve (51 percent) and securing six breaks. If she's going to win on Saturday, that type of defense will be crucial.

"I had my own long special road," Pavlyuchenkova told reporters after the semifinal win. "Everybody has different ways. I don't know, I'm just happy I'm in the final. Trying to enjoy."

The French Open championship will mark the first WTA Tour head-to-head meeting between Pavlyuchenkova and Krejcikova, which adds to the uncertainty of a true toss-up match.

Prediction: Krejcikova in three sets

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