Barbora Krejcikova captured her first Grand Slam singles title Saturday with a 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the 2021 French Open women's final at Stade Roland Garros in Paris.
Krejcikova emerged as the champion from one of the most unpredictable major draws in recent memory, which featured just one top-10 seed in the quarterfinals and a pair of finalists who'd never advanced beyond the quarterfinals in a Grand Slam singles tournament.
The first two sets were polar opposites of each other.
Krejcikova came out firing on all cylinders with 13 winners and three breaks of serve to take the opening set. Pavlyuchenkova battled back with an equally dominant second set, recording 10 winners and three breaks, though she required a medical timeout for treatment on her left leg late in the set.
The deciding set was more competitive, but Krejcikova came up with a clutch break while her 29-year-old Russian counterpart was serving at 3-3. She never relinquished the lead despite a few pressure-filled games to close out the match.
Christopher Clarey @christophclarey
Barbora Krejcikova of Czech Republic becomes a big-surprise French Open champion. Defeats Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 2-6, 6-4. <br><br>Saved a match point vs Sakkari in the semis. <br>Third unseeded French Open women's champ in last 5 years after Ostapenko and Swiatek<br><br>None before then pic.twitter.com/qkQprNGfYJ
Krejcikova entered the championship match with more experience on tennis' biggest stages. She captured back-to-back doubles titles at the French Open and Wimbledon in 2018 and also reached the final of the Australian Open doubles tournament earlier this year.
The 25-year-old Czech Republic native scored a series of upsets to reach the final, a journey that included wins over four seeded players (Ekaterina Alexandrova, Elina Svitolina, Maria Sakkari and Coco Gauff) as well as 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens.
She'll also compete for the women's doubles title Sunday alongside partner Katerina Siniakova against Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Iga Swiatek. If she wins, she'll become the first woman since Mary Pierce in 2000 to capture both French Open championships in the same year.
Meanwhile, Pavlyuchenkova put together an impressive run to the final of her own, highlighted by victories over No. 3 seed Aryna Sabalenka, Victoria Azarenka and Elena Rybakina.
Her previous best result at the French Open was reaching the quarterfinals in 2011. She hadn't advanced beyond the third round in any of her last nine appearances at the famed clay courts of Roland Garros.
The result was one of the most unexpected championship matchups in Grand Slam history, but there was nothing lucky about either player's run to the final. They both faced several high-quality opponents and earned their berths on the marquee stage.
Krejcikova rose to the occasion to join a list of French Open champions that includes Serena Williams, Chris Evert, Suzanne Lenglen and Steffi Graf.