It was a phenomenal set of semi finals on the womens side with high quality performances mixed amongst some incredibly nervy tennis. The highlight was Krejcikova’s win 9-7 in the third after breaking Sakkari as she served for the match. She should have won the match earlier in the game when Sakkari’s forehand sailed long, but the umpire erroneously over ruled and play went on.
Fortunately, she got the job done in the end and now the question is once again: Who will find composure under pressure? Join me as I analyze the women’s final in Paris and offer my best value tennis picks and predictions for Sportsbook Review!
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Barbora Krejcikova
Saturday, June 12, 2021 – 09:00 AM EST at Roland-Garros
I predicted that the semi finals would come down to who was cool under pressure and boy was that the case. We were unfortunate not to get a decider for our bet on Zidansek, as she and Pavlyuchenkova had the same number of return games with break points. Zidansek actually had one more break point. But experience shined through in the key moments and you have to be delighted for the Russian, making her maiden slam final at 29 years old.
However, as mentioned, the highlight was the second semi-final. Krejcikova gave up a match point when serving to stay in the decider, but she held her nerve and after Sakkari was broken serving for the match it was all about who would blink first. In the end, it was the Greek and it was clear how much the occasion meant to Krejcikova in her post match speech:
"I always wanted to play a match like this. … Such a challenging match, where we both had our chances, we both have been playing so well. Only one can win."
"Even if I lost today, I would be just very proud of myself because I was just fighting. I think that’s the most important thing, just to fight. Every time – in here but also in the normal life. Fighting, that’s the most important thing."
She has been in phenomenal form all season, and in that match she trusted her game, and it all paid off.
I was surprised to see that the market made this a very close match. While I have to respect Pavlyuchenkova’s form this week, I can’t help but think the match is Krejcikova’s to lose so I like the money line at -130 (1.77) with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)
I mentioned in my previous article that Pavlyuchenkova tends to play her best tennis on hard courts and quicker clay and the stats bear this out. She can certainly play on the dirt as she has shown this week, but while Krejikova is 143-71 on clay, Pavlyuchenkova is 93-70, and Pavlyuchenkova is 4 years older.
At main level over the last 3 years on clay, Pavlyuchenkova has a 14-10 record and a 104.5% combined break/hold percentage. Krejikova is 20-8 over that time period with a 113% combined break hold. In similar, tight matches on clay at betting odds between -200 (1.5) and +200 (3), Pavlyuchenkova has won 27 of her last 50 for a 2% ROI, whereas Krejikova has won 33 of her last 50 for a 25.8% ROI.
However, as mentioned in the last preview, the stats are of very limited interest in these kind of matches. What this will come down to is inspiration, grit, determination and composure.
The difficulty with picturing this match up is that both have a similar wide repertoire and ability to play various styles of tennis. Neither has one big, obvious weapon or clear weakness. They are both smart, tactical players. Much will depend on how they decide to play.
My feeling is that Krejikova just has that bit more of a feel for clay – that aspect of clay court tennis which is difficult to put into words but that so often determines who wins. The ability to make decisions under pressure, to know when to switch up your game, and the fitness and mental staying power to execute even at six all in the third.
Pavlyuchenkova has had a lot of answers this week but her opposition have all be power based. Sabalenka, Azarenka and Rybakina are all elite tennis players, but they are also all players with a fairly narrow game style based around powering their opponent off the court.
Take nothing away from Pavlyuchenkova, but this is a totally different style of opponent. Krejikova will ask different questions, and I’m not convinced that Pavlyuchenkova will be able to find the answers.
I would be pleasantly surprised if Krejikova had it all her own way, but on balance I think she is more complete player on clay, has the more impressive stats and overall form so I’ll take my chances at -130 (1.77).
Tennis Pick: Barbora Krejcikova at (-130) with BetOnline
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds