Pavlyuchenkova and Krejcikova reach French Open final

·3-min read

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova advanced to her first final at a Grand Slam tournament on Thursday after a straight sets victory over Tamara Zidansek. She will play Barbora Krejcikova who saved a match point on her way to a three set victory over 17th seed Maria Sakkari.

Pavlyuchenkova, the 31st seed, won the battle of nerves to edge past the unseeded Slovenian 7-5, 6-3.

In key moments throughout the 94 minute contest on centre court, the 29-year-old Russian, playing in her 52nd major competition, displayed her greater experience.

Zidansek made the first move breaking Pavlyuchenkova's opening service game. She held for a 2-0 lead. But it was 2-2 after 15 minutes on centre court.

And Zidansek cracked later to give Pavlyuchenkova the chance to serve for the set at 5-3.

But she fluffed her lines and allowed Zidansek to recover to 5-5. Some sweet hitting gave Zidansek two break points but Pavlyuchenkova held on to lead 6-5.

She claimed the set 7-5 after Zidansek's second double fault. Pavlyuchenkova looked like she was going to run away with the match after breaking to lead 2-0. But she lost her service to lead 2-1

Generosity

Fortunately, Zidansek was equally generous and she coughed up her own service for the Russian to take a 3-1 advantage. That soon became 4-1.

And then Zidansek dug in to win two games. Serving to relaunch the contest at 4-4, she cracked to give Pavlyuchenkova the chance to serve for a place in the final.

A fourth backhand winner took her to within two points of the final and a big service brought two match points. A backhand in to the tramlines won herr the match after 94 minutes

"I'm very happy but very tired," said Pavlyuchenkova. "I'd like to thank the crowd for their support. Tennis is such a mental sport. I had to fight all the way through."

Epic

Pavlyuchenkova will play Krejcikova after the unseeded Czech upset the Sakkari 7-5, 4-6, 9-7.

Krejcikova saved a match point while serving at 3-5 down in the decider.

She eventually held her service and obliged Sakkari to serve for the match at 5-4.

The 25-year-old Greek, who beat the defending champion Iga Swiatek in the quarter-finals, fluffed her lines.

To the delight of the fans revelling in her dynamic hitting and on-court theatrics, Sakkari fought off three match points on her way to level at 7-7.

Krejcikova then nudged ahead 8-7 without fuss.

Trying to square the match, Sakkari offered up a fourth match point but fended it off it with an 11th backhand winner.

However, Krejcikova wrapped up proceedings after three hours and 18 minutes with a backhand winner of her own on her fifth match point.

"I always wanted to play a match like this," Krejcikova told on-court interviewer Marion Bartoli. "Even if I had lost today I would have been so proud of myself for fighting."

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