French Open: Muchova stuns reigning Australian Open champ Sabalenka to reach maiden career Grand Slam final

World no. 42 Karolina Muchova sealed a thrilling 7(7)-6(5) 6(5)-7(7) 7-5 victory against Aryna Sabalenka in the women’s singles semi-finals of the ongoing French Open, at the Philippe-Chatrier Court in Paris. In what turned out to be a roller coaster first set, Muchova edged to a 7(7)-6(5) win in the first set.

Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic clenches her fist after winning the first set against Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus during their semifinal match of the French Open.(AP)
Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic clenches her fist after winning the first set against Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus during their semifinal match of the French Open.(AP)

Then world no. 2 Sabalenka had other plans and staged a comeback, but then Muchova held her nerves and took a 5-4 lead, with the world no. 2 serving to stay in the match. Sabakalenka soon made it 5-5 with some aces and showed her champion mentality. With the set at 6-6, it went into a tie-breaker, which Sabalenka eked out a 6(5)-7(7) win in the second set.

The third and final set turned out to be a topsy-turvy one initially, but Sabalenka used her experience to take a 2-5 lead and Muchova had to serve. A stinging return from Sabalenka gave her a 40-30 lead and the match point, but Muchova drew level once again to make it 40-40.

Keeping her calm, Muchova made it 3-5. Serving for the match, Sabalenka conceded early. Then it was all Muchova as she staged a comeback to make it 4-5. Then Muchova took a 6-5 lead to serve for the match. Sabalenka failed to get a single point as Muchova went onto win 7-5.

After winning the match, Muchova said, “It’s unbelievable. I just kept fighting. But I don’t want to sound cocky, I just keep working on my game.”

She will take on the winner of the other semi-final between defending champion Iga Swiatek or Brazil’s Haddad Maia. Meanwhile, the match saw Sabalenka’s run of 12 successive match wins at the Slams come to an end as she paid for her 53 unforced errors. Meanwhile, Muchova saved nine of 13 break points.

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