Barbora Krejčíková was a surprise winner of this year’s French Open, defeating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1 2-6 6-4 in the final to earn her first Grand Slam title.
Both Krejčíková and Pavlyuchenkova were unexpected finalists at Roland-Garros, benefitting from the withdrawal of top seeds Ashleigh Barty, Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep.
Their success was also a result of their own ability. Pavlyuchenkova overcame Belarus’s Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka in the opening stages of the tournament, while Krejčíková defeated the resilient Coco Guff and Maria Sakkari on her way to the final.
It was Krejčíková who eventually emerged victorious, despite being unseeded for the tournament. GiveMeSport Women looks at what the victory will mean for the Czech star.
Move away from doubles specialist reputation
Before this year’s French Open, Krejčíková was not a complete unknown in the world of tennis. She has established an impressive reputation in doubles, winning the women’s doubles contest at the 2018 French Open and Wimbledon.
The 25-year-old also has three mixed doubles titles to her name, all coming at the Australian Open in recent years. Krejčíková’s triumph at Roland-Garros was actually her sixth Grand Slam title across all disciplines.
As a result of this success, Krejčíková had become known as a doubles specialist. Her French Open victory, only the fifth Grand Slam singles main draw of her career, surely marks a move away from this reputation.
More appearances at Grand Slams
Despite enjoying a stint as doubles world number one in 2018, Krejčíková has floundered in the singles rankings. She spent six years in the range of the 101-200 ranking spots, unable to gain a place in the main draw of Grand Slams and subsequently failing to establish herself as a top singles player.
Krejčíková’s French Open victory will now propel her to number 15 in the world, allowing her to compete regularly at the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. She is likely to feature at such tournaments later this year.
Former world number one tennis player Chris Evert told Eurosport Krejčíková is now a “force to be reckoned with.”
“It wasn’t until last fall that she broke into the top 100 in the world, it’s just amazing,” she said. “This is a woman who always wanted to be known as a singles player. She has won multiple grand slam doubles titles and was known as a doubles specialist but not a singles specialist.
"But this has been her dream and her goal and she’s proving to a lot of people that she’s a force to be reckoned with in singles as well as doubles.”
Key opponents absent
Will Krejčíková lift another Grand Slam trophy this year? Although she is not expected to repeat her impressive achievement again so soon, the French Open winner may continue to benefit from the absence of a number of world-class opponents.
Krejčíková is clearly on a roll, winning her first women's singles title at the Internationaux de Strasbourg just before Roland-Garros. She is in a rich vein of form, and with Naomi Osaka set to away from the court for some time, and Ashleigh Barty and Simon Halep injured, there is room for Krejčíková to go far in another tournament.
Watch this space.