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Preview: French Open final: Barbora Krejcikova vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Barbora Krejcikova - prediction, head to head, route to final

Sports Mole previews the women's French Open final between Barbora Krejcikova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Saturday afternoon.

A new women's French Open champion will be crowned on Saturday afternoon when Barbora Krejcikova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova square off at Roland Garros.

Krejcikova had never progressed past the fourth round of a major before this tournament, while Pavlyuchenkova has finally built on six previous appearances in the last eight at Grand Slams spread over a decade.

Match preview

Barbora Krejcikova pictured at the French Open on June 10, 2021© Reuters

As a former world number one and a five-time major champion in doubles, Krejcikova is no stranger to having to handle pressure at the top of her discipline.

However, that should not undermine the startling run that she has experienced on the clay this year, backing up her victory in Strasbourg by taking more high-profile scalps in Paris.

The rout of Sloane Stephens in the last 16 remains the standout performance, but her semi-final triumph over Maria Sakkari on Thursday will live long in the memory.

Despite missing out on four match points, one of which came from an incorrect line call, the Czech hitter finally got over the line in three hours and 19 minutes.

While the 25-year-old has lost just two sets in six matches, it remains to be seen whether having less recovery time will hinder her efforts to eclipse her doubles success at Roland Garros in 2018.

Krejcikova's appearance in the final is a considerable surprise, and the same can be said of Pavlyuchenkova after failing to live up to her potential as a junior.

Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in action at the French Open on June 10, 2021© Reuters

Six quarter-finals appearance in 51 Grand Slam tournaments has been perceived as a hugely disappointing return for someone who claimed three junior titles at the same level.

Nevertheless, everything has come together for the experienced Russian over the past two weeks, particularly during the middle part of the competition when Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka were defeated in successive matches.

The 29-year-old's run to the semi-finals of the Madrid Open suggested that better things could be just around the corner, and her extra know-how was used to great effect in seeing off Tamara Zidansek in the semi-finals.

Although Pavlyuchenkova endured three matches which went the distance earlier in the tournament, prevailing in straight sets last time out could prove pivotal at the weekend.

Route to the final

Barbora Krejcikova:

First round: Kristyna Pliskova (5-7 6-4 6-2)
Second round: Ekaterina Alexandrova (6-2 6-3)
Third round: Elina Svitolina (6-3 6-2)
Fourth round: Sloane Stephens (6-2 6-0)
Quarter-finals: Coco Gauff (7-6 6-3)
Semi-finals: Maria Sakkari (7-5 4-6 9-7)

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova:

First round: Christina McHale (6-4-6-0)
Second round: Ajla Tomljanovic (6-2 6-3)
Third round: Aryna Sabalenka (6-4 2-6 6-0)
Fourth round: Victoria Azarenka (5-7 6-2 6-3)
Quarter-finals: Elena Rybakina (6-7 6-2 7-6)
Semi-finals: Tamara Zidansek (7-5 6-3)

What they said

Speaking after her thrilling win over Sakkari, Krejcikova said: "I always wanted to play a match like this. When I was younger and I was playing juniors, I always wanted to play such a challenging match where we both had chances and were playing so well - and only one can win.

"Even if I lost today I would be very proud of myself because I was fighting. That is the most important thing, to fight, in here and in our own life."

After her last-four success, Pavlyuchenkova said: "I am so tired and so happy, it is very emotional.

"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."

Head To Head

Saturday's showdown represents the first-ever meeting between these two players.

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We say: Paylyuchenkova to win in three sets

After defeating Zidansek, Pavlyuchenkova was quick to acknowledge that she was feeling fatigued, a consequence of her previous victories. However, that admission came before Krejcikova was taken to the brink by Sakkari, and we feel that Pavlyuchenkova will have more in the tank to edge a back-and-forth contest.

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