Barbara Krejcikova defeated 31st ranked Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 to win the Roland-Garros singles championship for the first time since Hana Mandlikova in 1981. The world number 33 could win both the singles and doubles crowns in Paris if she wins the doubles final with Katerina Siniakova on Sunday. She required one hour and five minutes to beat her Russian opponent and win her first major title.
Krejcikova said on court, “I cannot believe what just happened. I cannot believe that I actually won a Grand Slam. I was going through a really hard time when Jana was passing away, I was most of the time her, and I really wanted to experience this because I thought it’s just going to make me really strong. Pretty much her last words were, ‘Just enjoy and just try to win a Grand Slam. I know that from somewhere she’s looking out for me and all of this, what happened these two weeks is because she is just looking after me probably and I just want to really thank her. It’s amazing that I had a chance to meet her and that she was such an inspiration for me. I just really miss her but I hope she’s happy right now and I’m extremely happy.”
On the eve of Roland-Garros, Krejcikova won in Strasbourg, extending her current winning streak to 12 matches. She was rated 114 in singles when she reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam eight months ago in Paris. She’s now the Roland-Garros champion, a remarkable leap for the former number 1 in doubles.
This is the sixth year in a row that a first-time Grand Slam women’s singles champion has been crowned in Paris. There have been nine different maiden Slam winners in the last 15 majors. The 25-year-old Krejcikova, who was making her fifth main-draw singles appearance at a Slam, dropped service in the first game of the match before rushing to capture the next six games and grab a one-set lead after 30 minutes.
Pavlyuchenkova fought back in the second set, taking a 5-1 lead. Serving to tie the match, she let a set point slip away and was broken as Krejcikova narrowed her deficit to 2-5. The Czech eventually prevailed.