Barbora Krejcikova kept her cool to overcome a massive error by the chair umpire on match point to prevail 7-5, 4-6, 9-7 over Maria Sakkari in the French Open semi-final.
Krejcikova saved a match point at 5-3 in the third set with a flying backhand winner.
She then then needed five match points spanning two games before quelling the challenge from the Greek player in three hours and 18 minutes.
“I always wanted to play a match like this, when I was younger, playing juniors, I always wanted to play such a challenging match where we both had chances and were playing so well,” said Krejcikova.
“Even if I lost today I would be very proud of myself because I was fighting. That is the most important thing, in here and in our own life.”
Krejcikova was almost denied victory in the thrilling encounter by an umpire error. The 25-year-old brought up a fourth match point on Sakkari’s serve at 8-7.
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 10, 2021
A forehand from the Greek was called long, but the chair umpire dramatically overruled — even as TV replays showed the ball to be out.
That is an absolutely brutal error from the umpire 😬
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) June 10, 2021
Rather than dwell on her apparent hard luck, Krejcikova brought up a fifth match point and converted it with a backhand winner down the line to end one of the longest women’s matches of the season in style.
The Czech is now on an 11-match winning streak and has made it to the final in only her fifth Grand Slam singles main-draw appearance.
She will take on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the French Open final on Saturday.
Pavlyuchenkova held off Tamara Zidansek 7-5, 6-3 in one hour and 34 minutes to make her first Grand Slam final after 51 major main-draw appearances.
The previous record was held by Roberta Vinci, who was the 2015 US Open runner-up in her 44th main draw.