Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to face Barbora Krejcikova in French Open final

·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will face Barbora Krejcikova in her first grand slam final after beating Tamara Zidansek in the French Open semis on Thursday.

In a final four of first-timers, Pavlyuchenkova will play for a first grand slam title against on the Parisian clay, 15 years on from being the world junior number one aged just 14.

The Russian had fallen six times in slam quarter-finals over 10 years before beating Elena Rybakina on Tuesday, but she needed just one attempt at a semi-final, seeing off Slovenian Zidansek 7-5 6-3.

Pavlyuchenkova will face Krejcikova, who became the first Czech woman in 40 years to reach the French Open final as she beat Greek 17th seed Maria Sakkari 7-5, 4-6, 9-7 in a nail-biting, see-saw contest.

The world number 33 struggled with nerves throughout but eventually proved more consistent than Sakkari, who got tight when she served for the match at 5-4 in the third set.

Zidansek was the outsider of a hugely unexpected final four, none of whom had ever stood on this stage at a slam before.

Ranked 85, the 23-year-old had won a tense battle with Paula Badosa in the last eight, holding her nerve when it counted.

She looked the more composed of the pair at the start here as well but Pavlyuchenkova began to make her big strikes count and moved into a 5-3 lead.

She was unable to serve out the set, Zidansek pulling off an outrageous backhand overhead winner to help her break, but a double fault from the Slovenian then handed it to her opponent.

Pavlyuchenkova was always ahead in the second set and kept it together with the prize in sight, clinching her first match point when Zidansek drilled a backhand wide.

There was no big celebration from the 29-year-old, who simply took a deep breath before allowing herself a satisfied smile as she tried to take in her achievement.

Maria Sharapova, the last Russian to win the women’s singles title at Roland Garros, was quick to tweet her admiration for her compatriot’s victory.

Additional reporting by PA.

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