Muchova stuns Sabalenka to move into French Open final | Tennis News


NEW DELHI: Unseeded Karolina Muchova shocked second seed Aryna Sabalenka in a thrilling semi-final at the French Open to secure a spot in the final. Muchova saved a match point before winning 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 7-5, ending Sabalenka’s quest to become the world number one.
Sabalenka, who could have claimed the top spot in the rankings by winning the title in Paris, missed an opportunity at 5-2 in the third set. Muchova tactfully defused Sabalenka’s powerful game and won the last five games in a row.

As the only remaining unseeded player in both the men’s and women’s draws, Muchova approached the match strategically. Instead of engaging in a power battle from the baseline, she opted for a lighter touch. Muchova utilized slices and drop shots to disrupt Sabalenka’s rhythm and forced her to make errors.
“I don’t really know what happened,” a beaming Muchova said.
“The atmosphere, the people pushing me in all the match. I just keep fighting and it worked. I really don’t know what happened. I am so happy.”
Asked about her versatile game she said: “I don’t want to hear it, to get it into my head, to get cocky. I am trying to play my game. I am so glad it worked so well.”
“We worked on it together,” she said turning to her box. “It is our success.”

Muchova is only the third player ranked outside the top-40 to reach the final at Roland Garros after Jelena Ostapenko (2017) and Iga Swiatek (2020), with both of the previous two winning their respective finals.
Sabalenka, known for her powerful forehand, struggled to unleash her shots and appeared unsettled throughout the match. Despite Muchova taking a 5-4 lead in the first set, she wasted a set point on her serve and was immediately broken back. However, she eventually clinched the set in the tiebreak.

In the second set, Sabalenka broke Muchova early, but they traded breaks and the set went to a tiebreak. Sabalenka earned two set points, squandering the first with a double fault but successfully converting the second to level the match.

Sabalenka had four break points at 1-0 in the third set but failed to convert them. However, she managed to break Muchova and take a 4-2 lead. Just when it seemed that Sabalenka was on her way to victory, Muchova staged an impressive comeback, winning five consecutive games after saving a match point at 5-2 down.


With this victory, Muchova advanced to her first Grand Slam final, while Sabalenka’s dream of reaching the top of the world rankings and winning the title in Paris comes to an end.

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