Non-seeded Czech Barbora Krejcikova sealed her rapid rise in singles by winning her first major title in a hard-fought final at Roland Garros.
25-year-old Krejcikova won 6-1 2-6 6-4 against Russian 31st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at Roland Garros.
The former world number one doubles won the title in her fifth appearance in a Grand Slam singles draw.
On Sunday, Krejcikova had the chance to win the doubles when she played in the final alongside Katerina Siniakova.
No player has won both the women’s singles and doubles titles at Roland Garros since France’s Mary Pierce in 2000.
Krejcikova sealed the first half in what could be a rare brace when she took the win with her fourth match point.
When Pavlyuchenkova hit a long comeback, the Czech clenched her fist in celebration and looked up to the sky remembering her mentor Jana Novotna.
“I’m super happy to have been able to take advantage of it. I’m really very happy, ”said world number 33 Krejcikova, who also won two doubles Grand Slam titles.
“It’s hard to express because I can’t believe what just happened. I can’t believe I actually won a Grand Slam. “
“Jana takes care of me from up there” – Krejcikova dedicates her victory to Novotna
Krejcikova has often spoken of the impact of former Wimbledon champion Novotna, who died in November 2017 of cancer at the age of 49.
When she was 18 and an aspiring player, Krejcikova’s parents took her to Novotna and asked the former world number two for advice.
Novotna saw something special and became his trainer, mentor and friend until her death.
“I was going through a very difficult time when Jana passed away, I was with her most of the time. His last words were pretty much ‘take advantage and try to win a Grand Slam’, ‘Krejcikova said.
Pointing to the sky, she added: “I know from somewhere that she’s taking care of me and everything that has happened in the last couple of weeks is pretty much because she’s taking care of me. From up there.
“It’s amazing to have had the chance to meet her and she was an inspiration. I hope she is really happy and I am extremely happy. “
Pavlyuchenkova unable to add senior title to junior success
For the sixth consecutive year in Paris, he was assured of being a first Grand Slam champion crowned in the women’s singles final.
Very few – if any – would have predicted before the tournament that Krejcikova and Pavlyuchenkova would be the ones playing it.
This was despite Krejcikova warming up to win the title for Strasbourg and Pavlyuchenkova, 29, having reached the semi-finals in Madrid last month.
The ability to be mentally strong and to bounce back from tough times had characterized Krejcikova’s run to the final, especially in her semi-final victory over Greece’s Maria Sakkari.
She first had to save a match point in the deciding set, then was wrongly denied victory by the incorrect cancellation of a line call, before recovering to take her fifth match point a few moments later.
After two double faults that led to her being broken in the first game of the final, Krejcikova responded by triggering the next six games in just 21 minutes.
The second set was a complete contrast.
Pavyluchenkova, a bigger hitter than the more versatile Krejcikova, relaxed and gained confidence as she began to get more returns on her way to a 5-1 lead.
The Russian lost one of the breaks in Game 7 and then needed a seven-minute medical time-out, where she ate a bag of candy while receiving treatment, for a thigh injury.
Despite concerns, she broke up in the next game to win the second set and ensure that a decision maker would determine who won the title.
The breaks were traded for 2-2 before Krejcikova regained the initiative with a magnificent return match where she broke to love.
Pavlyuchenkova, who won two junior Grand Slam titles as a teenager, saved two league points at 5-3 but couldn’t stop Krejcikova from clinching the title in the next game.