French Open 2021, women's semi-finals: Krejcikova to face Pavlyuchenkova in final
French Open 2021, women's semi-finals: Krejcikova to face Pavlyuchenkova in final
That's it from us folks!
We've played witness to two incredible women's singles semi-finals, and after all of today's action, we have our finalists in Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Barbora Krejcikova! Do join us tomorrow though, because we'll be right back here, bringing you all the latest updates and more from the men's singles semi-finals! Until then, goodbye and goodnight!
Barbora Krejcikova speaks after the match: I always wanted to play a match like this. When I was younger and playing juniors, I always wanted this. Such a challenging match, we both did so well, but unfortunately only one can win. Even if I had lost, I would be proud of myself, because I really fought. That's the most important thing. To fight.
Barbora Krejcikova wins 7-5, 4-6, 9-7!
Yet again, Maria Sakkari will serve to stay in the match. Sakkari draws first blood in the game as Krejcikova hits a return into the net. Krejcikova the levels with a lovely backhand winner down the line. A lovely volley from Sakkari leaves Krejcikova stranded at the net, and it's 30-15. Oh, that is out of this world! Krejcikova nails an inside out backhand, and she sends it flying into the corner of the court. Beautiful stuff! 30-30. Ooh, double fault from Sakkari, and Krejcikova has another match point, her fourth match point. Can she finally wrap up the contest? Sakkari's forehand is called long! Is this it?? No wait. The umpire is off his chair, and he says it's hit the line. Hawkeye shows that it was out. If Krejcikova loses from here on out, it'll be a travesty. Anyway, we play the point again. Sakkari wins it this time! It's deuce. Krejcikova hits long! Advantage Sakkari! Great defence from Sakkari that. SAKKARI HITS WIDE AND WE'RE BACK AT DEUCE. What great work from Krejcikova to compose herself. Okay, Sakkari has hit wide, and the umpire agrees with this one. Advantage Krejcikova. And match point #5. KREJCIKOVA IS THROUGH TO HER FIRST-EVER GRAND SLAM FINAL! Maria Sakkari really did her best, and it was one hell of a contest, but eventually, it's the Czech star who comes out on top. This is box office stuff!
Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 4-6, 8-7 Maria Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Krejcikova to serve and Sakkari wins the first point. Somehow, after having battled for three full hours, these spectacular athletes are finding new reserves of energy! Krejcikova battles back with a point. 15-15. Sakkari hits a forehand into the doubles alley. Another mistake from Sakkari, 40-15. That one was hit just wide of the line as well. Sakkari fires a return into the net and Krejcikova takes the game.
Barbora Krejcikova* 7-5, 4-6, 7-7 Maria Sakkari (*denotes next server)
Krejcikova hits a backhand long. 15-0. Oh, sweet strike from Krejcikova, it seems like she really has upped her aggression level. She sends a forehand speeding down the line and past Sakkari. Sakkari overcooks a shot, and now Krejcikova has the upper hand. Ah, another poor miss! A bit of moonball tennis is followed by a dash to the net from Sakkari, but she can't dig out a volley in time. Krejcikova has two match points. Sakkari misses her first serve. Her second serve is alright, and in the resultant rally, Krejcikova hits long. No matter who wins, this has been a wonderful contest. Oh, gutsy backhand winner from Sakkari! She really stepped up and tooth things into her own hands. Deuce! Sakkari misses her first serve. Krejcikova gets an incredible slice of luck on the second serve, as her return hits the top of the net and falls on Sakkari's side. Another match point. Could this be the one? Nope. Sakkari smashes an ace down the T, there were 177kmphs behind that scorcher. Deuce. Sakkari gets advantage with an overhead smash! Krejcikova hits long and we keep going!
Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 Maria Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Krejcikova wins the first two points, one with some excellent shot placement and the other with an ace. Sakkari then hits a return wide, and she seems really annoyed at herself. Oh, that was a terrible shot from Sakkkari, she hits straight into the net despite having more than enough time to think about her shot. Hold for Krejcikova!
Barbora Krejcikova* 7-5, 4-6, 6-6 Maria Sakkari (*denotes next server)
Sakkari takes the first point, but then makes an error and sends a shot long. 15-15. Ooh, excellent forehand from Sakkari, she just about finds the baseline. Big mistake from Krejcikova, she hits wide into the doubles alley. We're down to the wire. Sakkari holds! No tiebreak in the French Open, so we could have a bit more action in store for us.
Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 4-6, 6-5 Maria Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Double fault from Krejcikova, the second serve was initially ruled to be alright but was overturned by the umpire. Sakkari hits a backhand long. 15-15. Another missed backhand from Sakkari, she hits it into the net. 30-15. Sakkari's backhand is letting her down at the minute, she hits yet another one long. 40-15. Can Krejcikova hold and take some pressure off of her shoulders. Great tennis from Krejcikova to force Sakkari into making mistakes! She holds serve and now Sakkari will have to serve to stay in this match.
Barbora Krejcikova* 7-5, 4-6, 5-5 Maria Sakkari (*denotes next server)
Alright then Maria, what have you got in store for us? First point of what could be the deciding game goes the way of Krejcikova. Sakkari hit that one long. Another missed forehand from Maria Sakkari, she puts just a little too much juice into it and sends it an inch too far. Krejcikova then misses a backhand, she hits the net. This is intense stuff! Sakkari looks fired up. She sends a piledriver of a serve down the middle and the ball flies like it was sent out of a cannon! Huge serve that. 30-30. Sakkari then buries a forehand in the net. Krejcikova has a vital breakpoint. WOW! A thunderous cross-court backhand winner from Sakkari makes it deuce. Oh no, Sakkari tried to be cute, and she misses her dropshot. Another break point for Krejcikova. Sakkari misses her first serve. Ger second serve is alright. Both players playing one moonball after the next, and then Krejcikova manages to catch Sakkari out with a lovely backhand! We're back on serve in this incredible match!
Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 4-6, 4-5 Maria Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Oof, great backhand winner from Krejcikova. She cannot afford to be broken now, it's now or never for her. She misses a forehand after some great defensive work from Maria Sakkari. Another huge point for Sakkari, Krejcikova's attempted backhand down the line flies long! Mistake from Sakkari, it's 30-30 now, and this is incredibly tense. What does Krejcikova have left in her tank? She's clips the top of the net, and the ball falls back on to her side! Match point Sakkari. OH WOW! Nerves of steel from Krejcikova, she forces Sakkari into sending a lob her way, and she hits a commanding backhand to make it deuce. Advantage Krejcikova! A couple of excellent points, and she's still alive in this contest. Sakkari hits long, and Krejcikova survives! Sakkari will serve for the match.
Barbora Krejcikova* 7-5, 4-6, 3-5 Maria Sakkari (*denotes next server)
Lovely work from Sakkari to find the line with a backhand winner and get herself a point. She then misses a lofted ball, sending her forehand long of the baseline. 15-15. If Sakkari can hold her, Krejcikova will be in a really untenable situation. Sakkari then catches the line yet again, and this time, Krejcikova asks the umpire to check it. He does, and he seems happy with his initial decision. An error from Krejcikova follows, and Sakkari closes in on another service hold. One more mistake, and Krejcikova will now serve to remain in the tournament.
Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 4-6, 3-4 Maria Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Sakkari tries to catch out Krejcikova with a dropshot, and the Czech fails to deal with it, sending her attempted shot wide. Sakkari has a bit of bad luck then, as her backhand return clips the top of the net and flies just wide of the line. Oof, superb work at the net from Krejcikova, she plays a drop shot and then raced forward to block off the passing shot, before sending a volley into the empty half of the court. Error from Krejcikova, but she makes up for it by winning the next point with a wonderful backhand winner. 40-30. Backhand hit into the net by Sakkari, Krejcikova holds in a game of massive importance.
Barbora Krejcikova* 7-5, 4-6, 2-4 Maria Sakkari (*denotes next server)
Wondrous ball striking from Krejcikova! It was a pretty lengthy rally, and the Czech ends it with a crisp backhand down the line! 0-15. Mistake from Sakkari, she tries a backhand slice, but it doesn't have enough lift on it. 0-30, bit of pressure on Sakkari now. She responds with an inch-perfect serve straight down the middle. Krejcikova error, it's 30-30. Lengthy rally and then it's a huge point for Maria Sakkari, as Krejcikova can only find the net with her return. This would be a great service hold for Sakkari. It IS a great service hold for Sakkari. She's edging ever closer to a win!
Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 4-6, 2-3 Maria Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Ah. Double fault from Krejcikova. Are nerves getting the best of her? Maybe not, she hits a sweet sweet backhand winner after manoeuvring Sakkari into a difficult situation. 15-15. Another gorgeous backhand from Krejcikova, it was struck right into that upper corner of the court. 30-15. Mistake from Sakkari, she hits straight into the net. 40-15. Ooof, what a forehand from Krejcikova! This was some excellent tennis from the Czech! She eases to a hold.
Barbora Krejcikova* 7-5, 4-6, 1-3 Maria Sakkari (*denotes next server)
Now, what response does Krejcikova have for the break? Can she break right back? The first point is won by Sakkari, the second by Krejcikova. 15-15. Sakkari then hits a shot into the net, and it's 15-30. She serves the next one out wide, and Krejcikova's attempted return is a miscue, almost hitting the chair umpire. 30-30. Krejcikova buries a backhand in the net. Sakkari is a point away from consolidating her break. Krejcikova will make her wait though, she wins a point with a backhand winner down the line. Deuce. Sakkari misses a forehand, advantage Krejcikova. Break point as well. Krejcikova misses a backhand, we're back on deuce. This is a real battle we're watching. Great first serve from Sakkari! Krejcikova was never reaching that in time to make a proper return. Advantage to the Greek. SHE HOLDS SERVE UNDER INTENSE PRESSURE! This match is on tenterhooks at the moment, but Sakkari just about has the edge.
Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 4-6, 1-2 Maria Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Excellent work from Krejcikova to quickly adapt to a tough situation at the net and dig out a volley. A point apiece after that, and it's 30-15. A mistake from Krejcikova as she buries a forehand in the net. 30-30. Krejcikova hits long, and Sakkari now has a break point. She breaks serve as Krejcikova hits wide!
Barbora Krejcikova* 7-5, 4-6, 1-1 Maria Sakkari (*denotes next server)
Sakkari gets her first point of the third set with a forehand winner down the line. A Krejcikova mistake makes it 30-0. Who can take the initiative in this third set? Another error from the Czech star, and it's 40-0. Oof, bit of a terrible miss from Sakkari, she reaches a Krejcikova dropshot with plenty of time to spare but fires her shot into the net. Another miss from Sakkari, this time it was all set up for a smash, but she hits the net once again. Sakkari then holds serve with a wonderful slice! She tries to catch out Krejcikova with a dropshot, who then attempts a dropshot of her own, which Sakkari just about gets to.
Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 4-6, 1-0 Maria Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
There's a lengthy delay, as Barbora Krejcikova takes a break to go change her outfit. Sakkari looks mildly annoyed, but the umpire isn't interested in hearing her complaints. First point of the third set goes Krejcikova's way, as Sakkari sends a wild forehand wide. Another mistake from Sakkari, it's 30-0. A third error, Krejcikova is up 40-0. Krejcikova holds to love.
Set 2: By the numbers!
Maria Sakkari wins the second set 6-4!
A point apiece to begin with, and Krejcikova really looks like she might be working her way back into this second set. She doesn't have much room for error though. Sakkari is pushed to her limits on this point, and ultimately, she comes up short against Krejcikova's ability to dictate a rally. Still, it's not all perfect from Krejcikova, she makes an error on a forehand. 30-30. Krejcikova goes for a backhand winner, and it's adjudged to be out. Krejcikova doesn't look too convinced, but the umpire confirms it's on the wrong side of the line. Sakkari now has set point. She can't convert, it's an unforced error and deuce. Ace from Sakkari, and she has advantage. She misses a shot though, we're back on deuce. Krejcikova hits a backhand long, and Sakkari has a third set point and advantage. She takes the second set! Krejcikova races towards the net, but Sakkari sees her coming, and her powerful backhand can't be returned.
Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 4-5 Maria Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Krejcikova will now serve to remain in the second set. Mistake from Sakkari to begin and she hits her return long. Krejcikova then misses a shot, firing her forehand into the doubles alley. Two aces out of absolutely nowhere for Krejcikova. She then pushes Sakkari wide and forces her into making a mistake to hold serve.
Barbora Krejcikova* 7-5, 3-5 Maria Sakkari (*denotes next server)
Can Krejcikova really fight her way back into this set? It looked like a lost cause at one point, but she's won three games in a row now. Krejcikova hits her return long. Sakkari then pushes her back, before charging towards the net and unleashing a slice into the corner of the court. 30-0. Another mistake from Krejcikova. Her backhand is hit straight into the net. A last mistake and Sakkari holds to love.
Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 3-4 Maria Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Barbora Krejcikova* 7-5, 2-4 Maria Sakkari (*denotes next server)
Maria Sakkari wins the first two points of her service game, and she still looks very much in control. Krejcikova does well to push Sakkari wide with a backhand, and Sakkari's return is fired into the net. Another mistake from Sakkari, 30-30. Oh, nice work from Sakkari there, she does well to keep up with Krejcikova's attempts to force her wide and wins the point with a forehand winner. She makes an error on the next point though, and it's deuce. Oh, great work from Krejcikova there! She moves Sakkari left and right and forced the Greek star into making a mistake under pressure. She has advantage! And now she's broken serve! She did really well there to test Sakkari.
Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 1-4 Maria Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Krejcikova looks exhausted. Maria Sakkari sends back her serve with real power on it, and she's left looking flat-footed. 0-15. Krejcikova tries a drop shot and pills it off quite superbly. 15-15. Krejcikova miscues her backhand and sends her shot flying long and wide. Sakkari then messes up a return, 30-30. Krekcikova charges towards the net and gets another point. 40-30. Another mistake, and it's deuce. Advantage Krejcikova. Sakkari fails to get her forehand onto the court, and Krejcikova finally holds serve in this second set.
Barbora Krejcikova* 7-5, 0-4 Maria Sakkari (*denotes next server)
What's Krejcikova got in her locker now? Will she write this set off, or will she try to fight back and rescue it? Sakkari appears to be distracted by a noise from the crowd, and she misses a shot. Krejcikova makes a mistake of her own, and it's 15-15. A mistake apiece from either player, it's 30-30. Krejcikova misses a running forehand, and then a backhand, and now Sakkari looks like she's well and truly back into this contest.
Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 0-3 Maria Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
What can Krejcikova do from here? She's already showed in the match that she can claw her way back from a deficit. She does well to win the first point with a forehand winner down the line, it was some great footwork from the Czech star. A couple of points for Sakkari and a point for Krejcikova follow, 30-30. Double fault, and now Sakkari has a chance to go two breaks up in the second set! Mistake from Krejcikova, and Sakkari, despite being a set down, looks like she really could be shaping up for a remarkable win.
Barbora Krejcikova* 7-5, 0-2 Maria Sakkari (*denotes next server)
OH MY WORD! Krejcikova unleashes a backhand down the line, and it is placed right on the paint, that was a perfect shot. She then hits a return slightly wide, and at first, she isn't convinced that missed, but upon walking over, she agrees with the umpire's decision. She then wins the next point after pushing Sakkari out wide with a fast forehand, and Sakkari can only send it wide. Point for Sakkari, 30-30. Krejcikova attempts to continue a rally with a backhand slice, but she miscues it, and it flies wide. Sakkari is up 40-30 and if she can hold, it would be a great game. Yep, she holds, she has the early lead!
Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 0-1 Maria Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
First point of the second set goes to Maria Sakkari, as Krejcikova hits long. She wins the second one with an inch-perfect backhand winner. Mistake from Sakkari and now it's 15-30. Oof, sweet strike off the forehand from Krejcikova, and that just zipped past Sakkari. 30-30. Krejcikova then hits a shot long of the baseline, and Sakkari now has breakpoint. She works Krejcikova over, and bullies her into making a mistake. Sakkari is not letting her first set disappointment get to her. She seals the early break!
Set 1: By the numbers!
Barbora Krejcikova wins the first set 7-5!
Great rally for the first point and it ends with a mistake from Sakkari, who sends a forehand flying into the doubles alley. 0-15. Sakkari makes it 15-15 with a backhand winner, that was a great combo she just hit Krejcikova with. Ah, a double fault from Sakkari, and it's 15-30. Her first serve was narrowly wide, and she went over to look at it, but couldn't spot anything out of order. Oh, Krejcikova has two set points! Sakkari hits long. Krejcikova wins the first set! She was able to weather a couple of tough spells and she comes out on top.
Barbora Krejcikova 6-5 Maria Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Krejcikova wins the first point after Sakkari hits long. Another mistake from Sakkari, and it's 30-0. This match really is incredibly close. Ace from Krejcikova, it's 40-0. She holds to love as Sakkari hits a forehand long. Sakkari will serve to stay in the first set.
Barbora Krejcikova* 5-5 Maria Sakkari (*denotes next server)
Two big errors from Krejcikova, and Sakkari is up 30-0. Sakkari is looking really dangerous at the moment, and if she can carry on this momentum, it could be very difficult for Krejcikova to find her way back. Sakkari wins her eighth consecutive point, and in a blink of an eye, she's gone from 5-3 down to 5-5.
Barbora Krejcikova 5-4 Maria Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Sakkari wins the first point with a hammer of a forehand, and she lets loose a roar! She's in a spot of bother, and she's trying to get herself fired up. Krejciokova misses a shot, and Sakkari shouts again. Sakkari has really psyched herself up, she hits a forehand winner and she's got herself three breakpoints. Krejcikova, meanwhile, seems a bit perturbed, and she commits a double fault to bring the match back on serve. Still, Sakkari will need to hold to stay in the set.
Barbora Krejcikova* 5-3 Maria Sakkari (*denotes next server)
BARBORA KREJCIKOVA IS ON FIRE! She races to breakpoint, and then absolutely bamboozles Maria Sakkari with a delightful little dink over the Greek star. She will serve for the first set!
Barbora Krejcikova 4-3 Maria Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Sakkari will be kicking herself right now. She could have been in a great position, and she let it slip with some costly mistakes. She gets the first point of the game as Krejcikova hits a return into the net. Sakkari then misses an attempted inside out forehand, which lands in the doubles alley. Another mistake from Sakkari. She looks a lot less assured than she did about 15 minutes ago. Sakkari hits long, and Krejcikova is just sitting back and allowing her opponent to make mistakes. Fourth and final mistake of the game from Sakkari. Krejcikova holds.
Barbora Krejcikova* 3-3 Maria Sakkari (*denotes next server)
Sakkari will be ruing her missed opportunity now, but she's still a break up in the contest. She starts off with a great backhand winner to make it 15-0. Mistake from Sakkari, it's 15-15. Aaah, another mistake from Sakkari. That was sloppy from the Greek star. Krejcikova helps her out with a mistake of her own. 30-30. Krejcikova continues to make costly mistakes. Sakkari is now up 40-30. Oof, a rare winner from Krejcikova, it's a dropshot that Sakkari cannot even get close to. Deuce. Oh my, excellent return from Krejcikova, that was fired back towards Sakkari with real pace on it. Advantage to the Czech. Deuce again, Krejcikova attempts a moonball but it's hit long. Krejcikova then gets advantage again, and she hits a backhand behind Sakkari, who couldn't turn quick enough. Sakkari misses a slice, and we're back on serve!
Barbora Krejcikova 2-3 Maria Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Oh my word, Maria Sakkari really is lighting up the court with her gorgeous shot placement. She wins the first point with a lovely backhand winner that is placed right up on the baseline. A mistake by Krejcikova now, and Sakkari is building up a head of steam in this game. Kejcikova meanwhile is yet to hit a winner, four sets in. She's not started too well. Sakkari makes a mistake to give away a point, but then she absolutely hammers a loose second serve down the line with a backhand to give herself two breakpoints. Just one breakpoint now, Sakkari fires a forehand into the net. Ah, another mistake from Sakkari. She could have had a massive lead by now. Deuce. Ace from Krejcikova, that was right on the line and Sakkari had the umpire come over and take a look at it, but it was to no avail. Advantage Krejcikova. Oh, excellent defense from Sakkari, she was in a very vulnerable position there, but managed to get the ball back into the court, and her flat-footed Czech opponent hit wide. Advantage Krejcikova again. This would be a great hold under pressure, something to really build on. She can't make the most of it though, it's a double fault. Back on deuce. She misses another first serve, but really goes for it with her second and manages to make Sakkari miss her return. She holds with a one-two punch that sees her take the point with a cross-court forehand winner.
Barbora Krejcikova* 1-3 Maria Sakkari (*denotes next server)
Ahh, nice idea from Sakkari, but the implementation is just a little bit off. She tries to catch out Krejcikova with a dropshot, but it just clips the top of the net and falls back onto Sakkari's side. Two excellent quickfire points from Sakkari, and it's 30-15. A mistake from Sakkari, who hits a forehand long, and it's 30-30. Oh wow! Sakkari goes for a risky shot, a running forehand that spins out of court and then back into it! What a shot! 40-30 for the Greek star. Error from Krejcikova and Sakkari now has a nice little lead.
Barbora Krejcikova 1-2 Maria Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Krejcikova is right back in this. She wins the first point of her service game and then Sakkari makes it 15-15 with a crisp backhand winner. Krejcikova's turn to make a mistake, she hits a backhand into the net. She recovers her composure quickly and then forces Sakkari into making a mistake. 30-30. These two are showing no mercy to the poor tennis balls in play, they're whacking them around with aplomb! Point to Krejcikova, she could manage to get the first service hold of the match so far here. Might have to wait a little longer, her backhand is wide and it's deuce. A missed forehand, and now Sakkari has advantage. Another unforced error from Krejcikova, and it's the third consecutive break of the first set!
Barbora Krejcikova* 1-1 Maria Sakkari (*denotes next server)
This is a great start from Sakkari, can she build on this early break? Her first serve is an absolute belter, and Krejcikova's desperate return is miles wide. Mistake from Sakkari, she hits a backhand long. 15-15. The first long rally of the match ends with a beautiful dropshot from Sakkari, who has really started this contest in some style. Another backhand missed by Sakkari though, 30-30. Oh, another mistake, this time it's a forehand that's fired into the net. Krejcikova already has a chance to break back. She's done it! Sakkari completely miscued what should have been an overhead smash, and it's back on serve.
Barbora Krejcikova 0-1 Maria Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
And away we go. Krejcikova will get us underway with the serve. Sakkari wins the first point of the match, after her Czech opponent hits long. Sakkari then makes a mistake of her own, sending a relatively straightforward backhand into the net. Krejcikova replies with another error, hitting long again. Oh my, excellent power-hitting from Sakkari, she forces a mistake out of Krejcikova and now she has two break points. Krejcikova hits long, Sakkari breaks in the very first game!
Get to know your semi-finalist: Barbora Krejcikova
Krejcikova, the 2018 French Open doubles champion, hopes to shed the tag of a doubles specialist by winning in singles too.
Mentored by the late Jana Novotna, the 33rd-ranked Krejcikova had never won a Grand Slam singles match before last year's Australian Open.
"I never really wanted to be a doubles specialist. Everybody, they just put a label on me like, 'Yeah, you play doubles, you are a doubles specialist,'" said Krejcikova, also into the last four in doubles with partner Katerina Siniakova.
She has defeated fifth seed Elina Svitolina and 2018 runner-up Sloane Stephens, overcoming crippling anxiety ahead of her match with the American that led to the Czech locking herself in the physiotherapist's office.
Alright then, before the second match of the evening begins, let's get to know your semi-finalist: Maria Sakkari
For a nation where football and basketball typically rule, Greece will have two players in the semi-finals after Stefanos Tsitsipas made it to the men's last four.
After an early exit in Rome, she got sick of tennis and made a quick island getaway. It helped restore her passion for the sport. Sakkari, who beat 2020 runner-up Sofia Kenin before shocking reigning champion Iga Swiatek.
Sakkari, whose mother Angeliki reached the third round at the French Open in 1985 and 1987, could break into the top 10 if she lifts the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen this weekend.
Set 2: By the numbers!
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova wins the match 7-5, 6-3!
That backhand has really let Zidansek down today. She misses another one, and Pavlyuchenkova wins the first point. Pavlyuchenkova then makes it 30-0 with a thunderous cross-court backhand winner. Just two points away from a win, she makes a terrible mistake, and gives Zidansek a little glimmer of hope. 30-15. Oh, excellent serve! Very, very fast, and Zidansek could do nothing but watch her return sail long. Two match points for Pavlyuchenkova. SHE IS THROUGH TO THE FINAL! HER FIRST-EVER GRAND SLAM FINAL! What a win from the Russian! Zidansek has had a great tournament, after failing to get past the first round on all her previous showings in a Grand Slam, but today, she just wasn't good enough.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova* 7-5, 5-3 Tamara Zidansek (*denotes next server)
Point apiece for either player. This game is massive. Pavlyuchenkova misses a forehand. She was in such a promising position just minutes ago. If she can break again, she could still wrap this up in two sets. Big forehand winner from her, and then Zidansek misses a shot to give her opponent one precious break point. Pavlyuchenkova does it! She's broken! Zidansek hit a forehand just wide of the line. The Russian will now serve for the match.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 4-3 Tamara Zidansek* (*denotes next server)
Mistake from Pavlyuchenkova on the first point, it's 0-15. Could she be succumbing to the pressure? Oh no, a double fault. 0-30. Zidansek smells blood, but Pavlyuchenkova is quick to regain her composure and she makes it 15-30 with a forehand winner. An excellent, high-quality rally then, and it's Zidansek's turn to hit a forehand winner. The Slovenian has two break points. A third point in a row that is settled with a forehand winner, this time it's Pavlyuchenkova again. Just the one break point for Zidansek. It's enough though, yet another double fault from the Russian! Back on serve!
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova* 7-5, 4-2 Tamara Zidansek (*denotes next server)
This really is a crucial game for Tamara Zidansek. If she's broken here, there's probably no way back into the contest for her. She starts by taking the first point after Pavlyuchenkova hits a return into the net. Oof, excellent dropshot from Zidansek! She's not landed too many today, but that one was perfect! Pavlyuchenkova tries a dropshot of her own, but there's too much bounce on it, and Zidansek sends it out for a forehand winner. Zidansek then wraps up the hold with a backhand winner. Quick game, that was over in minutes.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 4-1 Tamara Zidansek* (*denotes next server)
Zidansek looks really tired, and she's lost a bit of pace. Pavlyuchenkova, on the other hand, looks the most composed she has all match. She's making less errors than she did in the first set. She wins the first couple of points with two blistering forehands, both of those were hit with real venom. Oh my, she almost wrapped up the game with a backhand winner, but it was just an inch too long. No worries though, she seals it with a forehand winner on the next point, and she's only a couple of games away from her first Grand Slam final!
For the sixth year running, a first-time champion will be crowned at Roland Garros. There were six maiden quarter-finalists out of eight in the previous round and now we have four first-time semi-finalists at Roland Garros for the first time in the Open Era.
One of Maria Sakkari, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Barbora Krejcikova and Tamara Zidansek will lift the trophy on Saturday. But before we get to that stage, they have to get through the last-four which pits Pavlyuchenkova against Zidansek and Krejcikova versus Sakkari.
Sakkari is the highest-ranked player among the four at World No 18, 67 places above Zidansek, the first woman representing Slovenia to make the semi-finals of a Slam.
At 29, Pavlyuchenkova, a junior No 1, is into the semi-finals of a Grand Slam in her 52nd attempt. She accounted for a strong tournament favourite Aryna Sabalenka before sending Victoria Azarenka packing.
Zidansek entered the tournament with a 3-8 Grand Slam record with two first round exits in Paris. She started the tournament by making an announcement win over 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu.
Sakkari is not a new name to the WTA Tour and in going deep into a tournament. But this is her first foray beyond the fourth round and it has come in convincing manner. She beat 2020 French Open finalist Sofia Kenin and then defending champion Iga Swiatek. She is the first Greek woman to make the quarters and then semi-finals of a tennis major.
Krejcikova, 2018 French Open doubles champion, is two wins from adding the singles title to her collection. Mentored by legendary late Jana Novotna, Krejcikova hadn't won a Grand Slam singles match before last year's Australian Open. Her run has seen her beat Elina Svitolina, Sloane Stephens and Coco Gauff.