Barbora Krejcikova celebrates with the trophy after winning the final match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Paris on Saturday. Retuers / AP
Unseeded Czech Barbora Krejcikova completed a remarkable transition from a doubles specialist to a Grand Slam singles champion on Saturday by conquering Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final of the French Open.
The 25-year-old, a former doubles number one, defeated Pavlyuchenkova 6-1 2-6 6-4 to become the first Czech to lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup since Hana Mandlikova, who represented the former Czechoslovakia, triumphed in 1981.
Krejcikova was languishing outside the top 100 before last September's edition of the French Open - her preparations restricted to a series of ITF Circuit events back home - but a run to the fourth round in Paris changed her singles career.
Her preparations were much more solid this year as she won her maiden WTA title in Strasbourg in the run-up to Roland Garros. Following Saturday's win, Krejcikova extended her winning run to 12 matches.
She entered Paris at a career-high 33rd spot and will further rise to 15th when the rankings are updated on Monday. "It's hard to put words together right now. I can't believe what has just happened, that I've just won a Grand Slam," said Krejcikova, who became a first-time women's major winner in Paris for the sixth successive year.
After suffering the ignominy of numerous qualifying losses at the Grand Slams, Krejcikova won the ultimate prize in claycourt tennis in only her fifth main draw singles appearance at a major.
Krejcikova could walk away with even more silverware from Paris this weekend as she will be back on court on Sunday with fellow Czech Katerina Siniakova, with the duo attempting to win their second Roland Garros doubles title following their success in 2018.
The win will also see her reclaim the top doubles ranking.
On a sun-bathed Court Philippe Chatrier, Krejcikova and Pavlyuchenkova dominated a set each before the Czech surged ahead with a break of serve and completing the victory in just under two hours.
It was Pavlyuchenkova who started the final on a confident note, breaking the unseeded Czech at the start but that turned out to be the only game she would win in the opening set as Krejcikova reeled off six straight games.
Krejcikova started moving the Russian around by mixing her free-flowing, easy-on-the eye groundstrokes with deft dropshots, making it difficult for Pavlyuchenkova to settle down.
Speaking about her plans to open a tennis academy in Dubai, she added: "My new project is about opening a tennis academy here in Dubai for local Emirati tennis player to become a champion and one day have the chance to play in Wimbledon and elsewhere..."
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