Home Sports French Open: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will meet Barbora Krejcikova in Saturday’s

French Open: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will meet Barbora Krejcikova in Saturday’s

French Open: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will meet Barbora Krejcikova in Saturday’s

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has made it through to her maiden Grand Slam final

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Barbora Krejcikova have both made it through to their maiden Grand Slam final at the French Open and will clash for the Suzanne-Lenglen Cup at Roland Garros on Saturday.

Pavlyuchenkova reached her maiden Slam final with a straight-sets victory over Tamara Zidansek, while Krejcikova became the first Czech woman in 40 years to reach the final in Paris as she edged out Maria Sakkari in a nail-biting, see-saw encounter.

Russian Pavlyuchenkova was the world junior No 1 aged just 14 and now, 15 years later at the age of 29, she will play for a first Slam title on the Parisian clay.

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

Pavlyuchenkova surpassed Roberta Vinci, who took 44 Grand Slam attempts before reaching the 2015 US Open final

Zidansek, ranked 85, was the outsider of a hugely-unexpected final four, but the 23-year-old was eventually overpowered by the Russian, who began to make her big strikes count as she 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 victory on 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.

“I am so tired and so happy, it is very emotional,” Pavlyuchenkova said on a sunlit Court Philippe Chatrier.

“It was difficult, I tried to fight very hard and to work on the tactical side. It is important to stay focused and in the right zone for the final on Saturday.”

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.

Barbora Krejcikova won an epic semi-final which lasted three hours and 18 minutes

In the final she will face Krejcikova with a first-time Grand Slam champion guaranteed.

The unseeded Czech saved a match point in a dramatic 7-5 4-6 9-7 victory over Greek 17th seed Sakkari.

The tension of the occasion was evident in the performance of both players and Sakkari was unable to capitalise on a strong start as Krejcikova fought back to claim the opening set.

Sakkari forged into a 4-0 lead in the second and managed to overcome her nerves to take it, with Krejcikova heading off court for a lengthy bathroom break.

Sakkari did not allow that to distract her and opened up a 5-3 lead in the decider, with Krejcikova putting away a swing volley to fend off a match point.

Serving for the match, Sakkari could not quell the nerves, though, and back came Krejcikova. The Czech then created three match points at 7-6 but Sakkari saved them all.

Two more arrived two games later, though. On the first, Krejcikova celebrated thinking Sakkari had hit the ball out only for the umpire to decide it was in, but on the second the Czech guided a backhand down the line

She will be looking to emulate Hana Mandlikova, who won the title at Roland Garros in 1981.

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