Double threat: Barbora Krejčíková’s stunning French Open sweep
Barbora Krejčíková left an indelible mark on tennis history this weekend, becoming the first player to sweep the French Open women’s singles-doubles titles since 2000, and the first Czech woman to win at Roland-Garros since 1981. The feat is all the more extraordinary, as this was Krejčíková’s maiden Grand Slam singles title contest.
Barbora Krejčíková had previously won Grand Slam doubles and mixed titles. But the 25-year-old was unseeded in singles going into the French Open in Paris. Her last opponent, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, was also a first-time slam finalist, and their match-up would prove to be gruelling.
The Czech won the first set handily, by a score of 6-1, only to reverse fortunes to the Russian in the second set, losing 2-6. But Krejčíková rallied in the third, winning the hard-fought, nail-biting set on Court Philippe Chatrier by 6-4, the match ending with Pavlyuchenkova’s backhand landing long on the fourth match point for Krejčíková.
With the win, Barbora Krejčíková became the first Czech woman to win at Roland-Garros since Hana Mandlíková in 1981. She will rise to No. 15 in the world as a result. In her courtside victory speech, she thanked a bevy of Czech tennis legends who had supported her and cheered her on from courtside.
Apart from three-time Grand Slam singles champion Jan Kodeš and the legendary Martina Navrátilová, she also paid an emotional tribute to her mentor, former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotná, who died in 2017 after a long battle with ovarian cancer.
“I really want to thank my team, I want to thank Mr Kodeš for coming, supporting me today – he was texting me all week. I mean, all this energy – Martina Navrátilová was sitting there. So, thank you so much! I really appreciate it – you are my heroes!
“And also Jana Novotná from ‘upstairs’. She was just really looking after me, and I really miss her, and I really want to thank her for – because of her, I am here. So, it is really important to me to say this out loud.”
But the fortnight of incredible tennis in Paris had not yet drawn to a close.
On Sunday, the second-seeded Czech pair of Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková – who won the Roland-Garros title in 2018 – triumphed over Poland’s Iga Świątek and Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States.
Despite Siniaková’s continued trouble with her serve, and the Czech duo’s eight double faults in total, they beat the international pair in just two sets, 6-4, 6-2.
And with that, Barbora Krejčíková also became the first player to win the singles-double titles at the French Open since Mary Pierce, just over two decades ago. Fittingly, it was Martina Navrátilová who presented them the trophy.
What’s next for the Czech double threat?
“My dream, and my long-term goal is to win every Grand Slam – and also win a medal at the Olympic Games. So, this will be pretty tough for me!”