First set: Krejcikova 3-1 * Pavlyuchenkova (* denotes server)
Two breaks now for the Czech, after being so clumsy in the first game. Does Pavlyuchenkova get nervous? It looks that way. However, Krejcikova is defeated by a powerful winning backhand from the baseline. Pavlyuchenkova then loses a winner after being lured in by some low cuts. Then a drop shot forces two more break points. The first is saved with an even better drop shot. Next is a winner on the deuce line. But then Pavlyuchenkova goes long to face another breaking point. And again!
First set: Krejcikova * 2-1 Pavlyuchenkova (* denotes server)
Krejcikova in the groove? Maybe, but they’re both playing decent ground shots. There is not much between the couple in these early stages. It goes to 30-15. Then 40-15 through a thunderous backhand from the back of the court. She tries the same to take the game, but rings the network cable. Then some nerves for the second serve at 40-30, but she sees it.
First set: Krejcikova 1-1 * Pavlyuchenkova (* denotes server)
Broken immediately. Krejcikova starts with a sure winner, then goes 15-15. A little neat service and follow-up gets him to 30-15. Then Pavlyuchenkova does 30-30. This is kind of nervous. Krejcikova whips a winner home while walking to the net for a break point. Pavlyuchenkova saves him with a whipped backhand that dies like a leaf falling to the other side of the net. Then there is an error in the return of a service for the advantage. Pavlyuchenkova’s serve is also nervous. And his attempt to take the game lasts a long time. This could be a marathon. Krejcikova has another break opportunity, and she takes it with a winner that her opponent completely misinterprets.
First set: Krejcikova * 0-1 Pavlyuchenkova (* denotes server)A pause in the opening game, Kader Nouni is the referee today and gets it going in his mellifluous tone. We start with a long rally in which both players test each other. Pavlyuchenkova plays a winner to take that, and then reads Krejcikova’s serve to go 0-30. Then comes a double fault. A hint of yips? A winner to go to 15-40 will restore some confidence. But then another double comes. Oh darling.
The players enter the court. It seems muted out there, compared to the fireworks last night. This is a low-key final, but with both players winning a first Slam, nerves are sure to play their part.
They are both all smiles while the draw is taking place. Pavlyuchenkova has chosen to receive, and so the knock-up begins. It’s hot and muggy in Paris.
The great thing about having four semi-finalists for the first time is that it means you also get a new Grand Slam champion. If that’s stating the obvious, perhaps it’s not as clear-cut as Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova’s talent. The 29-year-old Russian has beaten 35 top-10 players and has won 12 non-major league titles throughout her career. However, it is in the four big events that Pavlyuchenkova fights. Before reaching the final at Roland Garros this year, he never made it past the quarter-finals. She finished 2020 outside of the top 30, but this year saw her beat several big names in the Madrid Open final before repeating the trick in Paris. Third-seeded Victoria Azarenka will tell you exactly how good Pavlyuchenkova can be back in the day after the Russian returned to win from a set down in her fourth-round tie.
As such, Pavlyuchenkova is perhaps a slight favorite against former stunt specialist Barbora Krejcikova. The 25-year-old Czech has at least experience of winning Grand Slam finals, with the French Open among the top three major doubles titles on her record. Krejcikova only won her first WTA singles title this year.