We certainly didn’t think two weeks ago that we would be talking about Barbora Krejcikova as not only French Open Champion but a player who has now won the Singles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed doubles in Paris as a result. A clean sweep in the trophy room. When you sit back and look at it, this should not be underestimated. It would be easy to dismiss at first glance but it shouldn’t. Even after winning in Strasbourg, she came into the event as a big outsider for this. She has calved her way through the draw and not just beaten but comprehensively taken out Elina Svitolina and an inform Sloane Stephen’s, edged out Coco Gauff and outfought Maria Sakkari. Pavlyuchenkova has now been added to that list. Two things have stood out every time I have watched her. The variation to her game that shows her doubles expertise. The slice, the angles, the volleys and the depth of shot for example. The other attribute has no doubt landed her the title. Her mental strength. It really has been exceptional. I would go as far as to say that it came to the forefront the further her matches progressed, highlighted by her last two wins against Sakkari and Pavy. The tighter a contest got the more freely she seemed to play.
The final itself had ups and downs for both players as shown by the 6/1 opening set to the Czech and the 6/2 second set for the Russian. I think it’s fair to say there have been far worse finals than this, so both players can feel proud of themselves in that sense. Pavlyuchenkova did take a MTO again in the second but this was for a knee injury she has had since beating Aryna Sabalenka in the third round. It seems this was one match too far for the injury against a player who could exploit that even more. I am gutted for Pavy but she says this is something to build on now and reach her goal of grand slam Champion. It sounds cliche but it has been a great few weeks for her.
For Krejcikova, it was a fitting tribute to her long term friend Jana Novotna and one that clearly and rightly means so much to her. The point to the sky and kiss said it all, she said: “She is looking after me from up there.” It does put a smile on your face thinking the grass-court season is next up, a time of the year Novotna really came into her own. One of the nice stories of Sport, we needed one after the horrific scenes in the football yesterday. Krejcikova will also play in the doubles final today with Katerina Siniakova. They face off against Iga Swiatek and Beth Mattek-Sands. Victory would mean she would become the first player to do this in Paris since Mary Pierce back in 2000.
Andy Del Potro (Al Davies).