By SAMUEL PETREQUIN and STEVEN WINE
Paris (AP) — The ball that landed on Barbora Krejčkova’s foot at the match point appeared to have fallen behind the baseline.
Lineman thought so and called the shot for a long time. The same was confirmed in a television replay, and unseeded Krejčova was convinced that he had raised his arms and won to celebrate Bath in the first Grand Slam final at the French Open.
The chairman’s referee, Pierre Bakki, objected. He overturned the call, sparked new debate about video playback, and temporarily delayed Krejčova’s victory.
Tennis escaped unfair results five points later when it hit the backhand winner and closed the career’s biggest win. The Czechs saved match points in the middle of the final set, making the Greek 17th seed Maria Sakkari last longer 7-5, 4-6, 9-7.
“I always wanted to play a match like this,” Krejčkova said.
She must also like roller coasters. Her opponent Saturday was 29-year-old Russia’s Anastasia Pavlychenkova, who defeated unseeded Tamara Zidansek 7-5, 6-3 to advance to the first major final.
It was the second time in the professional era that there were four first Grand Slam women’s semi-finals in a major tournament, and the first since the 1978 Australian Open.
Friday of the men’s semi-finals will include a showdown between 13-time champion Rafael Nadal and 2016 winner Novak Djokovic. It’s their 58th meeting and the rematch of last year’s French Open final. In the other semi-final, 5th place Stefanos Tsitsipas and 6th place Alexander Zverev will face each other, one of whom will shoot in his first Grand Slam title on Sunday.
Two-time major doubles champion, Krejčova, ranked 33rd, has played his fifth singles in the main draw of a major tournament. In contrast, No. 31-seeded Pabruchenkova played in more majors before reaching the final than any other woman — 52 —.
The teenage top 20 player, Pabruchenkova, was 0-6 in the major quarterfinals and more stable than the big swing Zidansek in the semifinals before finally overcoming that hurdle on Tuesday.
“I didn’t feel anything right now because I wanted this so much,” Pabruchenkova told the crowd in French.
It is also unlikely that Krejčova will play in the finals.
“It sounds incredible,” she said. “I can’t believe it. It’s actually happening.”
It seemed particularly unlikely that Sakkari would have nine matches in the third set when he scored match points. She then confessed that her aggression had diminished.
“I was stressed and started to think that it was important to play in the finals,” she said. “I think it’s a newcomer’s mistake.”
Krejčova erased match points with a swing volley for a nervous winner, and they continued to play 40 minutes later.
Then came the real drama. Sakkari struck a forehand near the baseline as Krejčova scored a match point in the final. Bucki got out of his chair, called the shot good, and ordered a replay of the points.
“He came and he seems to be” in “and I’m like” no, no, no, no, no, no. ” why? “She said with a laugh. “But what can I do? I can’t change his decision. It’s okay; let’s go. Let’s try to win the next one.”
TV replays have shown that the ball is clearly longer, but video reviews have not been used at Roland Garros. In Roland Garros, the ball usually leaves a clear mark on the clay.
Krejčova kept her calm and celebrated for a while after converting her fifth matchpoint.
There wasn’t much drama in the first match of the day, but the quality of play was warm and as enjoyable as the cloudless weather. The 85th-placed Zidansek, the first Slovenian woman to reach the Grand Slam quarterfinals this week, was a good player in many of the first sets, working well and hitting more aggressive ground strokes.
However, Pabruchenkova scored the most important point, and Zidansek threw a series of unstable serves into the net, losing the set.
Pabruchenkova’s ground stroke suffered more puncture wounds in the second set as she took a 4-1 lead. Her first nervous sign appeared when she double-faulted twice, including a breakpoint, to 4-3, but she broke back and won easily.
“Tennis is a very mental sport,” she said. “That’s the really difficult part of tennis.”
Zidansek could only agree.
“A new situation for me, the Grand Slam semifinals,” she said. “So, yeah, I was nervous. But who isn’t there at this point? I was trying to train as much as I could.”
Having won 12 tour titles, Pabruchenkova will return to the Top 20 next week for the first time since January 2018.
“She is in the finals,” said Krejčova. “She must be playing well.”
The same is true for Krejčova, who won 11 consecutive games, including his first WTA singles title in Strasbourg last month. She is the eighth unseeded female finalist at the French Open in her professional days and the fourth in the last five years.
A disciple of the late Grand Slam champion Jana Novotna, Creticova aims to be the first Czech woman to win the French Open since Hana Mandlíkova in 1981.
She also aims to be the first woman to win both doubles and singles at Roland Gallos since Mary Piers in 2000. She and Katerina Sr. Koba advanced to the semi-finals on Friday.
Unseeded Krejcikova, Pavlyuchenkova reach French Open women’s final – Press Enterprise Source link Unseeded Krejcikova, Pavlyuchenkova reach French Open women’s final – Press Enterprise