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French Open 2021: Thursday Roland Garros Schedule and Bracket Predictions

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 9, 2021

Czech Republic's Barbora Krejcikova raises her arms as she defeats United States's Coco Gauff during their quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Wednesday, June 9, 2021 in Paris. Krejcikova won 7-6, 6-3. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Thibault Camus/Associated Press

Two women will advance to their first Grand Slam final from Thursday's French Open women's singles semifinals. 

The unpredictable week-and-a-half in Paris put Maria Sakkari, Barbora Krejcikova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Tamara Zidansek in the semifinals. 

Pavlyuchenkova, the No. 31 seed, opens the two-match singles slate on Court Philippe Chatrier with her first-ever match against Zidansek.

The second semifinal between Sakkari and Krejcikova comes with some prior history. Krejcikova owns a 2-0 head-to-head advantage over the 17th-seeded Greek. 

Whomever moves on from the semifinal clashes will have a chance to become the sixth consecutive first-time major champion at the French Open.

        

Predictions

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova over Tamara Zidansek

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Pavlyuchenkova traveled a much more difficult path to get to the final four.

The 29-year-old Russian ousted No. 3 seed Aryna Sabalenka and No. 15 seed Victoria Azarenka in consecutive rounds and then battled through a three-set win over No. 21 seed Elena Rybakina. 

Pavlyucheknova also turned in some impressive results in the final tuneup tournament in Rome. She knocked out Karolina Pliskova, Jennifer Brady and Karolina Muchova before falling in the semifinals. 

Conversely, Zidansek played two seeded players in her five matches, one of which was against the No. 33 seed Paula Badosa in the quarterfinals. 

Zidanesk did upset sixth-seeded Bianca Andreescu. After that, she had an easier run to the final four since all of the seeds in her portion of the draw were out by the third round. 

Pavlyuchenkova has been playing at a higher level for the last few weeks, and she has been to the final eight at seven Grand Slams.

The No. 31 seed could have a better grasp of playing under the pressure of a Grand Slam semifinal, while Zidansek is in uncharted territory. 

Prior to Paris, Zidansek did not get past the second round at a major and she did not have a victory over a player ranked inside the top 50 in any of the clay-court tournaments she participated in this season. 

If Pavlyuchenkova banks on her experience, she should battle through whatever Zidansek throws at her and land a spot in Saturday's final.

          

Barbora Krejcikova over Maria Sakkari

Krejcikova, who holds a 2-0 head-to-head advantage over Sakkari, is one of the most in-form players on the women's circuit. 

Krejcikova's two victories over Sakkari occurred seven years apart, with the most recent one coming this season in Dubai. 

The 25-year-old Czech is on a 10-match winning streak. She captured the title in Strasbourg, France, right before the French Open. She also has four consecutive straight-set victories. Two of them were over seeded players, including No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina. 

Sakkari did not get past the round of 16 in her three clay-court tuneups to Paris, but she has the better pair of victories in Paris over the two finalists from 2020: Sofia Kenin and Iga Swiatek. 

Sakkari should certainly test Krejcikova, but her Czech foe has played much better over the last three weeks on clay and that could be the difference-maker Thursday. 

If Krejcikova wins, she would be the second Czech woman in the last three years to make the French Open women's final. Marketa Vondrousova lost to Ashleigh Barty in 2019.

      

Statistics obtained from WTATennis.com.

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