Krejcikova Eyes Rare Roland-Garros Double

Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova (photo: @rolandgarros/Twitter)

PARIS/WASHINGTON, June 12, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

Barbora Krejcikova will begin her quest for a French Open rare double, sweeping both the singles and doubles titles, when she walks out on Court Philippe-Chatrier Saturday afternoon to face No. 31 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia for the Coupe Suzanne-Lenglen trophy.

Not since France’s Mary Pierce in 2000 has a woman captured both the singles and doubles trophies in the same Roland-Garros fortnight during the Open Era. Before Pierce, the feat was accomplished by Margaret Court in 1973, Chris Evert in 1974 and ‘75, and Martina Navratilova in 1982 and ‘84. Of interest, Navratilova lost four singles finals (1975, 1985-87) and went on to win the doubles in those years.

A day after Krejcikova reached her first Grand Slam final with a dramatic 7-5, 4-6, 9-7 semifinal singles victory over Maria Sakkari, in which Navratilova was in attendance rooting for the 25-year-old, she returned with longtime doubles partner, fellow Czech Katerina Siniakova, to beat Magda Linette of Poland and Bernarda Pera from the United States, 6-1, 6-2, in an hour and 11 minutes. The doubles victory kept her hopes alive of winning both titles.

On Sunday, Krejcikova and Siniakova will face Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States and Iga Swiatek of Poland, who won last year’s French Open singles title.

After securing their semifinal doubles victory Friday, Krejcikova was asked during an interview session how she was able to maintain her focus on the doubles court following her emotional singles triumph less than 24 hours earlier. She smiled and gave props to Siniakova, answering: “I’m really happy. Katia was doing really well today. She was really helping me. The score looks like it was easy, but it wasn’t really easy. I hope we saved some power for the finals.”

Speaking of the finals, it means that Krejcikova, ranked 33rd in singles and 7th in doubles, will get to play two more times on Court Philippe-Chatrier. It’s the crown jewel of Stade Roland-Garros, which will be at reduced capacity of 5,000 fans for Saturday’s women’s final between Krejcikova and Pavlyuchenkova.

“I’m looking forward that I’m going to play two more times on Chatrier,” Krejcikova said. “It’s always perfect to play this court because it’s a beautiful court. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun playing these two finals.”

A native of Brno, Krejcikova comes from a landlocked Central European country, Czech Republic, that likes its sports. “Overall, I just think the Czech Republic is really a country that likes tennis – it’s a sports country – they’re very supportive. It’s very nice.

“I think as [Czech] players, we root for each other. I already got so many messages from [the] girls. I just really appreciate it and I really want to thank them. It’s very nice that we can actually stay as a good group and as a good team.”

Krejcikova and Siniakova, also 25, have been doubles partners since their junior days, where in 2013 they won the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open girls’ junior titles. As professionals, they’ve won two Grand Slams, at Roland-Garros and Wimbledon, both in 2018, and been ranked World No. 1. Krejcikova also has three Australian Open mixed doubles crowns in her collection of trophies.

“From juniors to here, it’s been a really long journey,” said Siniakova, ranked 68th in singles and 8th in doubles. “I appreciate it that we are still here. We play good; we are like a team. We are getting to know each other more and more. I think we are doing really great. It’s really important for [our] doubles.”

Toward the end of the interview, Krejcikova recalled not so long ago the difficulty of juggling her time between playing a ITF singles (because of her ranking) and a WTA doubles schedule until she committed herself to improving her singles play once the tour restarted last summer.

“Sometimes, we played well, then I would miss a tournament, then I wasn’t ready to play. It was difficult,” Krejcikova recalled. Fortunately for her, those ITF days are behind her. Krejcikova has reached two other singles finals this year, in Dubai and Strasbourg, and won her first WTA singles title two weeks ago in northeastern France. Her ranking has risen over 100 spots since the start of last year and she’s projected to break into the Top 20 next week thanks to her successful run in Paris.

“I really think that the pandemic really helped me. Right now, I just want to keep [that] level,” Krejcikova said. “I just want to say here. I don’t want to go backwards. I just hope that I’ll be able and fit enough just to play singles and doubles using the other tournaments as well.”

Friday’s Roland-Garros results

Saturday’s Roland-Garros order of play

By the numbers