Karolina Muchová has advanced to her first Grand Slam final after knocking off world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka at the French Open.
The semifinal saw a tight battle, as Muchová went up 7-6 (7-5) in the first set over Sabalenka, taking the tiebreak. It was Sabalenka’s first dropped set in the French Open.
But the 25-year-old Belarusian did not go quietly. The second set went also went to a tiebreak, but Sabalenka forced a third set with a 7-6 (7-5) win.
While Sabalenka surged to a 5-2 lead, Muchová fought back, saving a match point at 40-15, holding serve and breaking Sabalenka before winning three straight games and pulling even at 5-5. From there, Muchová took a 6-5 lead, and then went up 40-0 in the final game before winning the match 7-5.
Keeping us guessing until the very end 😮After the tightest of battles, it’s @karomuchova7 who prevails against world No.2 Sabalenka 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 7-5 to make her first Grand Slam final.#RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/KAoq24tav9— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 8, 2023
Keeping us guessing until the very end 😮After the tightest of battles, it’s @karomuchova7 who prevails against world No.2 Sabalenka 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 7-5 to make her first Grand Slam final.#RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/KAoq24tav9
“I don’t really know what happened, the atmosphere, the people are just pushing me all the matches,” Muchová said on the court after her win. “It’s unbelievable, I just try to keep fighting and it worked. I really don’t know what happened, I’m so happy.”
Sabalenka entered the match having won her last seven matches when losing the first set. The most recent of those came in the Australian Open final, which she won to take her first Grand Slam title.
Muchová is the first person to beat Sabalenka in a Grand Slam this year. The 26-year-old from Czech Republic will face No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who defeated Beatriz Haddad Maia in straight sets, 6-2, 7-6 (9-7), in the other semifinal.