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To say Barbora Krejcikova wasn’t a favorite at the French Open would be an understatement. The 25-year-old Czech is playing only her fifth main draw at a Grand Slam in singles and broke into the top 100 only last year, after a fourth-round show at Roland Garros.
Indeed, the world No 33 was perhaps not even a majority pick in her semi-final against 17th Maria Sakkari, especially after losing serve twice in the first two games and then being 3-5 down in the decider.
But the unseeded Czech proved to be an unexpected winner in what turned out to be an unusual semi-final.
She beat Sakkari, the highest-ranked player among the final four, 7-5, 4-6, 9-7, battling for a marathon three hours and 18 minutes. In a nerve-wracking clash of wills that peaked in extra time, Krejcikova fought off a match point, broke Sakkari serving for the match, rallied after a controversial umpiring call on another match point and eventually prevailed to win one of the biggest matches of her young career.
Czech Mate 🇨🇿
In just her fifth Slam singles main draw, @BKrejcikova earns a maiden major final in the longest women’s semi-final match in Paris, eliminating Sakkari in epic style 7-5, 4-6, 9-7.#RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/1rhoSdhbY8
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 10,…