June 12 (UPI) — Unseeded Barbora Krejcikova captured her first Grand Slam singles title after beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 in the French Open women’s final Saturday in Paris.
The 25-year-old Krejcikova, who was playing in just her fifth major tournament in singles play, becomes the third unseeded women’s champion in the past five years at Roland Garros.
“I just want to thank everyone for coming today and cheering for us,” Krejcikova said after the match. “The atmosphere was amazing. I was super happy that I was able to enjoy it. I am just really happy.
“It’s hard to put words together. I cannot believe that I won a Grand Slam.”
Krejcikova also spoke about the influence of her former coach Jana Novotna, the 1998 Wimbledon winner who died of cancer in 2017.
“Pretty much her last words were just enjoy and just try to win a Grand Slam. I know somewhere she’s looking over me,” Krejcikova said. “She was such an inspiration for me. I just really miss her and hope she’s happy right now.”
Krejcikova, a native of the Czech Republic, now will attempt to become the first woman since Mary Pierce in 2000 to claim the French Open singles and doubles crowns in the same year. Krejcikova and her partner, Katerina Siniakova, already have two Grand Slam doubles titles and are set to play in the final Sunday in Paris.
The No. 31-seeded Pavlyuchenkova was competing in her first Grand Slam final in the 52nd major tournament of her career.
Krejcikova took control of the match after easily winning the first set, but her focus slipped in the second frame. She trailed 1-5 in that set before Pavlyuchenkova was treated for a left leg injury and eventually claimed the set.
The pair went back and forth in the final set before Krejcikova could serve for the match at 5-3. Pavlyuchenkova fought off three match points before dropping the decisive third set on a long backhand.
The victory gave Krejcikova only her second WTA singles title, but those victories have come in her past two tournaments. She defeated Sorana Cirstea to win her first singles trophy at the Internationaux de Strasbourg tournament last month.
Prior to the women’s final, some of the best players in the event withdrew or suffered shocking upsets.
Naomi Osaka, a four-time major winner who was seeded No. 2, withdrew after one match to take a mental health break. Top-ranked Ash Barty, who won the French Open in 2019, retired from her second-round match because of a left hip ailment.
Third-seeded Simona Halep, the 2018 winner, never attended the tournament due to a calf injury, while American Serena Williams and defending champion Iga Swiatek failed to reach the later rounds at Roland Garros. Williams was beaten in the fourth round, and Swiatek lost in the quarterfinals.