French Open: Barbora Krejcikova outlasts Maria Sakkari in an oscillating SF clash

Barbora Krejcikova defeated Maria Sakkari in a thriller to advance to her maiden Grand Slam final at the French Open on Thursday. The Czech came from behind across all three sets to post a 7-5, 4-6, 9-7 victory after three hours and 18 minutes.

While Sakkari started the match on a comfortable note, Krejcikova looked like she was overwhelmed. The higher-ranked player broke to start the match but was soon reined in. As it turned out, this theme of Sakkari taking the lead only for Krejcikova to break her game down became the repetitive pattern for the rest of the match.

The opening set eventually went Krejcikova’s way after she broke Sakkari’s serve in the 12th game as the latter tried to serve to take the set into the tie-breaker. Sakkari retaliated in the second set by taking a double-break lead to go up 4-0. But once again, she struggled to retain her lead and Krejcikova was able to regain one of the two breaks back. Eventually, in the 10th game of the set, Sakkari held her nerves and her opponent at bay long enough to take the set and push the match into the decider.

French Open: Barbora Krecjikova comes through

The deciding set was nerve-wracking. Sakkari broke Krejcikova in the early moments of the set and for once in the course of the match looked untroubled when it came to own service games. The 18th-ranked player even had a match point on Krejcikova’s serve in the ninth game but wasn’t able to convert. And from that moment on, the match turned around with Krejcikova taking the leash of momentum in her hands. Sakkari was broken while trying to serve for the match in the 10th game and thereafter spent the rest of the match catching up to her opponent.

The 38th-ranked Krejcikova had three match points on the Greek’s serve in the 14th game but Sakkari fended them to extend the match. However, in the 16th game, she faced two more match points and while she saved the first, an unforced error handed the match over to her opponent.

Both players had a deficit of winners and a surplus of unforced errors. While Krejcikova hit 31 winners and 58 unforced errors, Sakkari had 27 winners and 53 unforced errors.

In the French Open final, Barbora Krejcikova will face 31st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who won a relatively easier semi-final against Tamara Zidansek.