It is the biggest day in the careers of two women on Saturday afternoon when Barbora Krejcikova takes on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for the French Open title on the Philippe Chatrier Court at Roland Garros in Paris.
Neither of these ladies have been to a final of a Grand Slam before and who knows if and when they will get there again so this really is the opportunity of a lifetime for the pair of them, each of whom will be looking to emulate Ash Barty and Iga Swiatek and win their first major title on this clay court.
Unless you are the staunchest Barbora Krejcikova fan in the world you would probably have needed a few picks to guess her as a finalist in this competition but she deserves to be here and is actually looking to win her second title in succession. It has been so long since she lost a tennis match she could be forgiven for thinking she can no longer lose matches, and the way she came from match point down in the semi-final against Maria Sakkari further highlighted that.
It can’t really be argued that the draw has opened up for the Czech, the former doubles specialist who is more than making a name for herself in the singles sphere on the red clay. It has done but she’s still had to take care of the likes of Elina Svitolina, Coco Gauff and Maria Sakkari to make it into this final so nobody has just handed her a place here. You sense she’ll need a fast start here which she hasn’t really had in recent matches even though she has been winning the opening sets.
While it is a surprise to see Barbora Krejcikova in this final, and although it is a little surprising to see the Russian player Pavlyuchenkova in it as well, the former junior star does at least have something of a singles pedigree to suggest that she was always talented enough to reach a stage like this, even if she hadn’t shown it on the tennis court until this week. Having finally reached a Grand Slam final she will be eager to make sure she makes full use of her opportunity.
Nobody can argue at all that Pavlyuchenkova doesn’t deserve to be in this final. She has beaten some talented stars to get to this stage having seen off Aryna Sabalenka, Victoria Azarenka and Elena Rybakina on her way to this final. She then outclassed Tamara Zidansek in the semi-final and a repeat of that performance will have her very hard to beat here. Pavlyuchenkova has had a calmness about her this week but a purpose that suggested from quite early on that she fancied the job.
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Head to Head
The head to head record between these two is pretty simple to read because this will be the first time they have ever come up against each other in singles combat. Their paths may have crossed in the doubles sphere but this is the first time that they will face each other in the singles court so neither of them has an advantage in that regard.
Bookmakers make Barbora Krejcikova the favourite for this final but they have got it the wrong way around for me. I’ve had a feeling that Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has fancied the job from a long way out this week and if anything she is getting better as we get towards the winning line, whereas her Czech opponent has been clinging on a little bit. Maria Sakkari had match point against her in the semi-final and Coco Gauff was all over her in the first set of their quarter final but threw it away so Krejcikova could be waiting to be put out of her misery somewhat.
We don’t quite know how these two will react on this stage and in this spotlight and occasion because this is a match of huge magnitude but Pavlyuchenkova is into double digits for WTA titles so she knows a thing or two about winning finals. Krejcikova’s win in Strasbourg in the lead up to this event as her first tour title in singles so she isn’t quite as experienced as the Russian. I think that will play a part. Even when she’s been a set down this week, Pavlyuchenkova hasn’t panicked and when she has got into her groove she has looked very hard to beat. She is hard to avoid at odds against here.
Back A.Pavlyuchenkova to beat B.Krejcikova for a 3/10 stake at 2.10 with BetVictor
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