Krejcikova bidding for pair of Paris titles

The Czech is just two match-wins away from completing a historic double at Roland-Garros

Katerina Siniakova, Barbora Krejcikova, Roland-Garros 2021, women's doubles semi-final© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT
 - Danielle Rossingh

Barbora Krejcikova cruised into the women’s doubles final with her compatriot Katerina Siniakova on Friday, less than a day after winning the longest women’s semi-final at Roland-Garros.

The experienced Czech duo moved into their fourth major final with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Poland’s Magda Linette and Bernarda Pera of the US.

“I'm really happy,” said Krejcikova, who came back from a match point down to beat Maria Sakkari of Greece in three hours, 18 minutes on Thursday in singles.  

“Katia was doing really well today,” said Krejcikova referring to Siniakova, her doubles partner since they were juniors. “She was really helping me. I'm really happy that even the score looks like it was easy, but it wasn't really easy. I hope we saved some power for the final.”

Krejcikova, who plays Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the singles final on Saturday, is trying to become the first woman to complete the Paris double since Mary Pierce swept both titles in 2000.    

“I'm looking forward that I'm going to play two more times on Chatrier,” said Krejcikova, a former top-ranked doubles player who cracked the top 100 in singles last year. “It's always perfect to play on this court because it's a beautiful court. I think it's going to be a lot of fun playing these two finals.”

The Czech team will play Iga Swiatek of Poland and Bethanie Mattek-Sands for the title. Swiatek, last year’s surprise singles winner, and her experienced American partner defeated Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania and Nadia Podoroska of Argentina, 6-3, 6-4 in the other semi-final. 

Mattek-Sands will definitely be tuning into the women’s final.

“What a story,” the American said about Krejcikova.

“She's a machine. I just asked her if she set up a sleeping bag or a tent in the locker room, hanging ou there night and day. It's just nice to see some players that love playing tennis, are out there for the love of the game, doing so well at this stage in their career.”

Katerina Siniakova, Barbora Krejcikova, Roland-Garros 2021, semi-final© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Siniakova expects “another tough, tough battle", against the American-Polish team.

“I think Bethanie and Iga, they played [a] few tournaments together, so they know each other. They're playing really great and aggressive. We know Bethanie a long time. It's going to be a hard doubles match.”

It will be the first Grand Slam women’s doubles final for the 36-year-old Mattek-Sands since she sustained a gruesome knee injury while playing at Wimbledon in 2017. 

“You have to just take it all in,” said Mattek-Sands, a five-time major doubles winner. “You never know what's going to happen the next week, the next year. I think it's all about staying in the moment. Sunday will come, we'll be ready, we'll bring the energy. Till then we're going to enjoy the next couple days.”

There is a lot at stake for the Czech duo, who won the Roland-Garros and Wimbledon title together three years ago. Krejcikova will regain the top spot in the doubles ranking if she wins the title on Sunday with her partner.

For Mattek-Sands and Swiatek, who first played together as a team in Miami in March, it is all about enjoying the moment.

“We're definitely enjoying the semi-final win right now,” said Mattek-Sands. “I think you have to celebrate the small wins along the way because otherwise tennis is a long journey. If you're just celebrating if you get trophies, it could be few and far between.”

Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Iga Świątek, Roland-Garros 2021, © Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

The 20-year-old Swiatek can’t wait to play her first Grand Slam doubles final.

“If our game is going to be there, we can do anything,” said Swiatek, who lost in the quarter-final in singles to Sakkari. “I'm just excited and looking forward to it.”

Whatever happens in the final, Swiatek will leave Paris with positive emotions.

“I'm going to play without any expectations because I think we already did a great job,” she said. “We're going to for sure be pumped. Bethanie is going to give a lot of energy like that.”