French Open surprise: Pavlyuchenkova vs. Krejcikova in women's final

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Success seemed to come so quickly and easily for Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova as a junior, including three Grand Slam girls' titles and a No. 1 ranking by her early teens. Not so much in the professional ranks. Her match against Barbora Krejcikova at the French Open on Saturday comes at the
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Success seemed to come so quickly and easily for Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova as a junior, including three Grand Slam girls' titles and a No. 1 ranking by her early teens.

Not so much in the professional ranks.

Her match against Barbora Krejcikova at the French Open on Saturday comes at the end of Pavlyuchenkova's 52nd major tournament, the most Slam appearances before reaching a final for any woman in the Open era, which began in 1968.

Here's what present-day Pavlyuchenkova thinks her younger self would make of that: "14-year-old me would tell me, 'Like, what took you so long?'"

"It's tough to really talk about it right now. I don't know. It's been a long road. I had my own long, special road," the 29-year-old Russian said Thursday after beating Tamara Zidansek 7-5, 6-3 in the semifinals. "Everybody has different ways. I don't know. I'm just happy I'm in the final. Trying to enjoy."

It is, fittingly, a surprising matchup at the end of a surprise-filled two weeks at Roland Garros.

Four-time major champion Naomi Osaka withdrew from the tournament, citing the need for a mental health break. No. 1 Ash Barty retired from her second-round match because of an injury. Serena Williams lost in the fourth round. Defending champion Iga Swiatek bowed out in the quarterfinals.

It was the first time since the 1978…
Associated Press
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