Unseeded Czech Barbora Krejcikova has progressed to her first Grand Slam singles final after saving a match point in a dramatic clash against Greek star Maria Sakkari on Thursday night.
The world No. 33 will now face veteran Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova after outlasting Sakkari 7-5, 4-6, 9-7 in a match that lasted more than three hours on Court Philippe-Chatrier.
Krejcikova had never previously been beyond the fourth round of a major until this week, only progressing beyond the second round once.
Now the 25-year-old is into not just the singles final, but also the doubles semi-final with compatriot Katerina Siniakova.
“I always wanted to play matches like this. I always wanted to play tournaments like this, big tournaments, big opponents, last rounds. It was always something that I wanted to achieve. It was just taking so long,” Krejcikova told the media after her win.
“It just took me some time, but I think right now it's actually right moment. Especially mentally I think I'm just there. I really matured. I just really appreciate things a lot, especially after what I've gone through, also with this pandemic and everything.
“I don't really know what I think (smiling). I'm just full of emotions right now. It's really hard to explain it because it's English, it's not my first language. It's extremely hard to describe what I'm feeling right now.”
Krejcikova, who is now on an 11-match winning streak, said both players deserved to play in the final, following a semi-final of epic proportions.
“It was really tough match. Maria, she's really good. She's really good player. I know that she's a very good fighter. She was playing really well today,” she added.
“I actually think we both deserve to win because we play really, really great match. But only one can win. I'm really happy that it's me, that I'm going to have another chance to play another match.
“I think the match was really up and down. I just told myself: just fight, fight, fight until the last point. I'm happy that I was really fighting.”
Sakkari admitted the situation got the better of her when she held a match point in the third set, in a moment that will burn for some time given what was at stake.
“I have to be deadly honest: I got stressed, starting thinking that I'm a point away from being in the final. I guess it's a rookie mistake. Good thing is that if I give myself a chance again to be in that position, then I know that I don't have to do it again,’ Sakkari said.
“Just got a little bit stressed, got a little bit more passive on my game. Yeah, didn't go for it. I just didn't play offensive. I was a little bit defensive, especially in the big points. I couldn't find a way to break her after 5-all. I think it's human emotions, but I think I'll learn from it.”
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