Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Barbora Krejcikova Odds, Picks, Betting Predictions: WTA French Open Final Preview
Julian Finney/Getty Images. Pictured: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
- Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Barbora Krejcikova square off at 9 a.m. ET in the WTA 2021 French Open final on Saturday, June 12.
- There will be a new women's champ at Roland Garros for the sixth straight year after these two surprise players made deep runs to the final.
- Stuckey breaks down his Pavlyuchenkova vs. Krejcikova pick, including nerves and fitness.
Pavlyuchenkova vs. Krejcikova Odds
|Time||Saturday, 9 a.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday and via DraftKings.|
Many expected a wild French Open on the women’s side in a wide open draw, and the tournament sure didn’t disappoint. For the sixth straight year, Roland Garros will deliver a first-time Grand Slam champion.
I’m not sure anybody predicted the final pair left standing in Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Barbora Krejcikova. Let’s take a quick look at how each woman got here and then break down the final from a betting perspective.
Widely considered the most accomplished player on Tour to never reach a major final, Pavs has finally broken through. The former junior phenom turned pro over 15 years ago at the age of 14 and has been ranked inside the top-50 since way back in 2008. She became the first-ever woman in the Open Era to reach a Grand Slam final after playing in 50 or more main draws.
The 29-year-old has had to work to get to the final this tournament with a trio of impressive three-set wins over Victoria Azarenka, Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina. She did save some of her legs on Thursday with a straight sets victory (7-5 6-3) over Tamara Zidansek. Pavs also flashed some clay form leading up to the French Open with a run to the semis in Madrid where she lost to eventual champion Sabalenka.
While Pavs has played in over 50 major championship main draws, this will mark only the fifth for Krejcikova. That doesn’t mean the Czech hasn’t been around for a while. She just enjoyed much more success in doubles, having reached world No. 1 in the WTA doubles rankings back in 2018 after winning two grand slams that calendar year. In fact, she will play in the doubles final on Sunday with a chance of becoming the first woman to win both the singles and doubles titles at the same Grand Slam since Serena did it at Wimbledon back in 2016.
Krejcikova hasn’t had sustained success on Tour in singles until the past year when she cracked the top-100 for the first time in her career. It started with a run to the fourth round at Roland Garros in late 2020 and then continued during the clay swing in 2021.
Similar to Pavs, the 25-year-old has also won a trio of three-set matches this tourney and flashed quite a bit of form leading up to Roland Garros. Krejcikova has won 11 straight matches, including her first career title in Strasbourg. And in Rome, she had a match points in a tight three-set loss to French Open favorite Iga Swiatek.
Speaking of match points, Krejcikova had to save one down 3-5 in an epic semifinals match against Maria Sakkari. The Czech also had to save five set points in the first set and a late stumble in the second against Coco Gauff in an eventual straight sets win in the quarterfinal.
Who Will Hold Their Head?
These two right-handers are both very adept at the net and have plenty of serve confidence at the moment. While Pavlyuchenkova can bash with the best of them from the baseline, Krejcikova uses seemingly endless variety to thrive on clay.
Krejcikova may fancy the pace Pavs will give her to redirect with her limitless variety of ground strokes, slices and moon balls. That variety could become troublesome in tense moments. However, Pavs plays such a heavy ball with decent margin that could also work to her advantage here.
I could go on and on about the on-court matchup, but this will likely come down to who can control their nerves more. It does more times than not in a final between two first-time Grand Slam finalists.
So, who will hold their head? Your guess is as good as mine, but the experience edge for Pavs, who has won 12 titles on tour, has to mean something. Then again, after so much time on Tour before getting to a Slam final, does that work against her mentally?
For reference, two similar paths in the past ended in different results. In 2010, Francisco Schiavone won her first and only Grand Slam title at the French Open in her 39th career Major. However, things didn’t end as pleasantly for Roberta Vinci at the 2015 US Open in a straight sets loss to Flavia Pennetta. That was Vinci’s first and only Major final in her 44th appearance in a major draw.
Pavs looked very composed in her first-ever Grand Slam semifinals match after previously going 0-6 in the quarterfinal round. I know a final is a different animal, but she seems to be thinking clearly, serving well and playing with perfect margin.
As far as Krejcikova, she has remained cool, calm and collected throughout this tournament on many clutch points. That’s despite having a self-described panic attack before her fourth-round clash with Sloane Stephens. Do those nerves that caused her to lock herself in her physio’s office come back out ahead of her first career Grand Slam final? It wouldn’t shock me.
Fatigue could also be a factor. Both made deep runs in doubles and have endured some long matches throughout this tournament. While Pavs isn’t known for her peak fitness, she at least had a day off on Friday while Krejcikova played doubles a day after playing the second-longest match of the tourney on Thursday.
How I’m Betting the Final
Krejcikova has had a more impressive run to the final, taking out four high-quality seeds. Her variety and ability to absorb pace could give Pavs fits if the Czech is not mentally and/or physically exhausted. Krejcikova also has a very underrated serve and hits a much heavier ball than many give her credit for, but the Russian still can control more points with her measured aggression from the baseline.
Ultimately, I think this is basically a coin-flip match, so I think the current price point of -130 on Krejcikova is too high. Plus, I actually think Pavs has a slight edge in the experience (nerves) and fitness departments, although that’s hard to quantify and sound arguments could be made to the contrary. That’s more of a subjective take, but it’s enough to push me onto a small wager on the Russian, since I do show some value from a pure odds perspective.
From a total perspective, I’d lean under in a match of two first-time Slam finalists. Nerves could turn this into a one-sided affair. For what it’s worth, since 2005, only 17 of 59 WTA Grand Slam finals have gone three sets. That said, my number is right around the current over/under, so I’m staying away there.
Bet: Pavlyuchenkova (+108)