French Open tennis - Barbora Krejcikova edges out Maria Sakkari in epic to reach first Grand Slam final
The Greek 17th seed Maria Sakkari, who prior to this tournament had never reached a Grand Slam final, gave absolutely everything but Barbora Krejcikova will now take on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Saturday's showpiece after another brilliant performance on the big stage. The Czech player held her nerve in thrilling fashion in an extended third set to win well after three hours of play.
'I couldn't believe it' - Krejcikova on having to win match twice due to umpire blunder
Barbora Krejcikova secured her place in Saturday's showpiece in Paris after she won her French Open semi-final against Maria Sakkari in three marathon sets, 7-5 4-6 9-7.
The Czech player, who prior to this tournament had never reached a Grand Slam final, like her opponent, will now take on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova after a match which lasted three hours and 18 minutes.
Sakkari almost tried too hard in the opening set and Krejcikova capitalised on her opponent's mistakes. The Greek roared back to win the second and was a break up in the third, only for Krejcikova to respond once again and take the final set 9-7.
'No way!' - Krejcikova has to win match TWICE after huge umpire blunder
For Sakkari it was a hugely disappointing end to an inspired showing at Roland Garros - particularly after she had recovered so impressively from losing the opening set and had looked set to kick on and win the match.
Sakkari found her way back into the contest in the second set and managed to balance her big hitting with a bit more patience from the back of the court, even when she faced a few obstacles.
The 17th seed was left furious midway through the crucial second set with a fan, who she felt deliberately shouted out mid-point. The Greek player told the umpire that she had mentioned this issue to him already in the first set and displayed her unhappiness with the situation after planting a forehand into the net to squander a break point at 4-2 up.
'Screaming at me!' - Sakkari upset at fan shouting out mid-point
"Someone is screaming at me!" Sakkari protested to the umpire in a fairly lengthy exchange before she had to regain her focus once more en route to winning the second set and levelling up the match.
Krejcikova took a very long break at the end of the second set which infuriated her opponent and even prompted boos upon her return from the fans on Court Philippe Chatrier.
'Absolute nonsense' - Fans boo as Krejcikova takes very long break
But Sakkari kept her composure impressively and proceeded to capitalise on a few mistakes, only to find herself losing out in heartbreaking fashion as Krejcikova edged a tense and thrilling finale.
'I was horrified!' - Reaction as umpire wrongly denies Krejcikova victory on match point
It has been a special run from the 23-year-old Zidansek, but she simply could not challenge Pavlyuchenkova when it really mattered on Thursday. For both players it will be their first Grand Slam final.