This may not be the most anticipated French Open women’s final, but it will undoubtedly be a career-changing match. Barbora Krijcikova And the Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova When they meet Saturday in Paris.
Pavlyuchenkova reached her first Grand Slam final in 52 major matches and is the first Russian woman to play for the singles title since. Maria Sharapova In 2014. Krejcikova, from the Czech Republic, is also playing in her first Grand Slam final, after a grueling three-set semi-final against Maria Scary.
Our tennis educators break down the match and set their expectations:
What does this match between two unexpected finalists say about the state of the women’s game?
Simon Cambers: They say anyone can win a Grand Slam if they have two great weeks. Krejcikova won Sloane StevensAnd the Elina Svitolinaand Coco Gauff and Maria Sakkari, while Pavlyuchenkova . came out Arina Sabalenka And the Victoria Azarenka, so they both showed that they deserved to be in the final. Yes, the ladies’ game is more open at the moment, but that’s not a negative thing.
Bill Connelly: It seems like two things are happening simultaneously. First, the women’s game is ridiculously deep at the moment, and there aren’t many top players on clay. The Tennis Brief had just two players with a greater than 10% chance of winning the tournament at the start. Second… well, that’s what happens when one of the favourites (Simona HalepPrior to the tournament, another (Ashleigh Barty) was injured during the tournament, the second seed (Naomi Osaka) withdraw, etc. It was an incredibly open field, even by French Open standards.
Chris Evert: Women’s tennis has depth, and with pandemic schedules and routines out the window, it has helped create a more level playing field. This was an unusual French with Halep injured, Osaka withdrawing and Barty and Serena rusted.
Darcy Min: Players have said over the past several years that anyone in the Top 100 – and often beyond them – can beat anyone else on any given day, and we’ve seen that happen over and over again. When you combine an already unbelievable depth of talent with all the notable absences and injuries from this tournament, she creates the conditions for this perfect storm of unexpected finalists (and semi-finalists). Bottom line: It shows how many women on tour have not only the ability, but also the courage and mental toughness needed to win seven matches. It was exciting to watch Pavlyuchenkova and Krejcikova rise to the occasion.
With Pavlyuchenkova finally making it to the final in her 52nd major, what does she have to do to win it all?
humping: Hold her nerve and deal with the occasion. For me, that’s on her racket, she’s going to be the aggressor, so if she can control her emotions well enough, she has the strength, game, and experience to get the job done.
be mineStep 1: Don’t play 52 finals at once. She’s waited so long for this opportunity, but she probably can’t win if she tries to do too much.
Step 2: Get the first submission. Pavlyuchenkova doesn’t have a dominant serve, but she gets her first serve as consistent as almost anyone in the game, and this allows her to stay on her front foot. Krejcikova in general is very difficult to crack, so she needs to keep up with this.
Evert: Puff should continue to embrace the baseline and take the ball early, as if she was doing this whole tournament. Dictate the point of the first or second shot. Get Kre on the defensive, throw her choppy shots, and hit her.
who: Keep playing the game that got you here, keep being aggressive from baseline and keep making it up no matter what Krejcikova throws her way. And rest assured, as we have learned all these two weeks, you will spend Krejcikova everything in her own way.
Krejcikova showed no signs of slowing down, but after playing a match that lasted more than three hours on Thursday, and with the doubles game on Friday, one has to think there might be some fatigue. With the new players entering the match, Pavlyuchenkova should take advantage of this advantage and send Krejcikova around the field as much as possible.
While this is her first major final, Pavlyuchenkova definitely has an edge when it comes to experience, and she will need to remain calm and trust her instincts for victory.
What is Krejcikova’s strategy against Pavlyuchenkova?
humping: Be consistent. Pavlyuchenkova is complicated, so if Krejcikova only did what she was doing, that might be enough. Her backhand down the line was also an important shot; If she uses that she can open the playing field for a Pavlyuchenkova backhand.
be mine: Krejcikova qualified for the finals due to a combination of crowd power and a huge bag of tricks. She is more than happy to engage in long rallies, run her opponent around, vary between top spin and slide, throw some old-school half tissues and force her opponent to respond well to all of it. If she continues rallies over seven points, and hits more forehands than Pavlyuchenkova, she probably wins.
Evert: Bearing in mind the Cree’s semi-long span and may not have much gas left in the tank. Cree has to keep her patience and composure, mixing up the pace, using her slide, and unraveling the rhythm and power of Buff.
whoKrejcikova has shown her ability to adapt to her opponent’s matches very quickly, and you’ll need to keep doing that – and take advantage of her amazing versatility just as she has throughout the tournament. You’ll need to use all the tools in her large toolbox to secure this win.
Krejcikova had 58 unforced errors and five double faults against Maria Sakkari, and she can’t afford to go sloppy against the more polished Pavlyuchenkova. She will need to keep her nerves in check and continue to display the mental strength and never-ending fighting spirit that we saw when she saved match point down 3-5 in the break throughout the entire match.
Whose career will change the most with a major nickname: Pavlyuchenkova’s or Krejcikova’s?
humping: difficult to choose one. After 52 major championships and being an outstanding junior, Pavlyuchenkova finally got the big title she deserved. For Krizhikova, that could be the start of big things; She looks forward to owning the game on all surfaces.
be mine: Oh, sure Pavlyuchenkova. Surprisingly enough, in this era of parity, someone who has spent most of the past decade in the top 30 and reached at least the quarter-finals in every Slam tournament would not have made the Grand Slam final, or even the semi-final. She’s been pretty solid for a long time but hasn’t broken, and a title Slam going with her 12 other singles titles would completely change her legacy.
Evert: This title will change the lives of both. They have both been very calm and collected throughout this tournament. I give an advantage to Bavley because of the experience and the shorter half.
who: Of course the victory would change their lives, but for Pavlyuchenkova, who never lived up to early expectations after an excellent junior career, it would validate all her years of hard work and struggle. She’s talked candidly about the pressure she’s put on herself and the adjustments she’s made recently to give herself the best chance. Winning a major tournament after so long – 14 years after her first appearance in the main draw at Wimbledon – would be the ultimate reward.
Prediction time: who wins?
humping: Pavlyuchenkova has the strength and experience to win it, but there are bound to be some nerves along the way.
be mine: Krejcikova in three. It’s like the rivalry you could hope to see, but Krejcikova’s bag of tricks might be a little fuller right now.
Evert: This is neglect. For me, it’s not about strengths and weaknesses. The film revolves around two women who have never come close to a final in a major tournament and how they react. The intangibles will play: who handles the occasion, the pressure better, who has more gas left in the tank, whose body is not beaten.
who: It’s hard to choose against Krejcikova, who seems to never be counted, but Pavlyuchenkova’s experience ultimately wins in three hotly contested sets.