French Open tennis tournament, June 8, 2023, Paris. Czech tennis player Karolína Muchová.
Paris – Tennis player Karolína Muchová is one victory away from her first Grand Slam title. In Saturday's final, Roland Garros will challenge the world number one and reigning champion of Poland, Iga Šwiateková, who has not yet lost a set on clay in Paris this year. The match will start on Philippe Chatrier's main court at 15:00.
After the tournament, the native of Olomouc should move from 43rd place to at least 16th, which will be her new high. Nineteenth was the best so far. In case of victory, she would close the Top ten.
“I will definitely have to fight and play my best tennis. To win a Grand Slam, I have to play a perfect match and show my best,” Muchová said after defeating the world number two and this year's Australian Open winner in the semifinals in more than three hours on Thursday Aryna Sabalenkova from Belarus.
Muchová will face Šwiateková in a competitive duel for the second time. Four years ago, the twenty-six-year-old Czech won the clay tournament in Prague 4:6, 6:1 and 6:4. “But Iga still played in the qualification, whereas now she has been world number one for some time. It is incomparable and I certainly do not think that I will go to the court with any advantage. She will be the favorite, but we will sit down with the team again and look for gaps in her game,” said Muchová, who so far has a one hundred percent record of 5:0 with players from the Top 3 world rankings.
Before Sabalenkova, the tennis player of the 1st ČLTK Prague in Paris also defeated Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Elina Avanesjanova, Romania's Irina- Camelia Begu, Argentinian Nadia Podoroska and world number eight Maria Sakkari from Greece. It's the first time she's in the final of a Grand Slam and she improved her lifetime best. In addition to this year's Roland Garros, she was in the semi-finals two years ago at the Australian Open.
Muchová is also the third Roland Garros finalist after Šwiateková (2020) and the Latvian Jelena Ostapenko (2017), who figures outside the top forty of the world rankings. In the event of a triumph, she can follow up on Barbora Krejčíková's two-year-old victory in Paris. She is the last Czech Grand Slam winner.
Another Czech who won in Paris was Hana Mandlíková in 1981. Martina Navrátilová also won twice, but she already played under the US flag in 1982 and 1984. Lucie Šafářová and Markéta Vondroušová (2019) have also been in the final since 2015.
Šwiateková will attack for her third Roland Garros title and fourth Grand Slam overall. On the way to the finals, she lost only 23 games and handed out four “canaries.” In the semi-finals, she defeated the Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia, before that she succeeded against the American Coco Gauff, the Ukrainian Lesja Curenko, the Chinese Wang Sin-yü, the American Claire Liu and the Spanish Cristina Bucsa. So far, she has a 100 percent record of 3:0 in Grand Slam finals.
“I think I know Karolína's game quite well, because I have played a lot of training sessions with her since 2019. Even now, I watched her more than the other players,” she pointed out Šwiateková. “I really like Karolína's game. I respect her and I feel that she is a player who can do anything. She has great shots, she can speed up her game, she plays freely and she has great technique. I feel that I know her game well. But in matches she can be different and I have to be ready,” added the 22-year-old Polish woman.
The winner of the singles match will get 2.3 million euros (54.3 million crowns) to her account, the losing finalist will get half the amount.