French Open tennis - Barbora Krejcikova edges out Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to win first Grand Slam in Paris
With Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova taking on Barbora Krejcikova in the final of the French Open the crowd on Court Philippe Chatrier knew they would witness the crowning of a new Grand Slam champion on Saturday. That champion, after three draining sets, ended up being Krejcikova, with the Czech inspired as she clinched a famous triumph, 6-1 2-6 6-4, on the red clay in Paris.
Highlights: Krejcikova wins first Grand Slam title with Roland Garros triumph
The unseeded Barbora Krejcikova produced an inspired performance in the deciding set of the French Open final to overcome the challenge of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
The 25-year-old from Brno, who has not even yet reached the main draw at Wimbledon or the US Open, completed a famous fortnight with a composed and classy display on Court Philippe Chatrier to edge out the gutsy Pavlyuchenkova in one hour and 58 minutes.
Krejcikova not only repelled an impressive second-set resurgence from the Russian, but she continued the fearless play she has demonstrated all tournament in Paris. While Pavlyuchenkova sustained an injury late in the second set, this was a quite stunning triumph for the Czech, who was not even in the world's top 100 12 months ago.
Neither Pavlyuchenkova nor Krejcikova had experience of playing in a Grand Slam final prior to this tournament and it was always going to be fascinating to see how each would handle the huge occasion at Roland Garros.
After losing her serve in the opening game of the match, Krejcikova found something very special to storm through the set thereafter, winning six games in succession to stamp her authority on proceedings.
Krejcikova is now 'a force to be reckoned with' after Paris crown - Evert
'Wow, strange!' - Pavlyuchenkova 'doesn't even chase' ball against Krejcikova
In an extended and very tense deuce in just the second game of the match, the Russian totally misjudged a very bizarre scooped shot from Krejcikova which, to be fair, had a very unusual trajectory.
It certainly did not look like a conventional lob, but the Czech player somehow managed to retrieve a fine shot from Pavlyuchenkova, which was right in the corner of the court, flick it and get the ball to dip over her opponent's head and land in.
Pavlyuchenkova was not alone in looking totally stunned by the effort - so much so, she did not even turn and run after the ball as it dropped over her head.
Pavlyuchenkova, who had broken Krejcikova in the opening game of the match, essentially handed her opponent back the break of serve by not running for the ball, but she must simply have been too surprised to anticipate it.
'Dangerous!' - Krejcikova runs into advertising board, just avoids nasty injury
What no one wanted to see was either player sustain an unfortunate injury and thankfully this was narrowly avoided as Krejcikova managed to just slow herself in time as she made contact with an advertising board near the net.
The Czech did brilliantly to get to a ball from Pavlyuchenkova which drew her wide of the court, and she expertly softened the impact as she ran into the sponsored box by the side of the net.
It would be Pavlyuchenkova who sustained an injury at the end of the second set before she took the match into a decider - for which she received lengthy treatment.
'This is a worry' - Pavlyuchenkova sustains injury in final against Krejcikova
Both players threw everything they could at the final set with a maiden Grand Slam on the line for each, but it was the Czech who came up with the crucial break of serve when it really mattered.
"I just want to thank everyone for coming today and cheering for us," Krejcikova said in her on-court interview.
"It was the biggest support and the biggest energy. In these bad times and during this pandemic it is very nice to see you all here. The atmosphere was amazing.
"I'm super happy I was able to enjoy it. I'm just really happy!"
It is a famous triumph for Krejcikova, who earlier in the tournament defeated fifth seed Elina Svitolina and American duo Sloane Stephens and Coco Gauff en route to Saturday's showpiece at Roland Garros.
'I'm super happy!' - Krejcikova reacts to unlikely French Open triumph