A couple of the most recent Roland Garros singles stars have made it into the finale of this fortnight's women's doubles event, where they will factor into an eye-catching clash for the championship.
Barbora Krejcikova, who made it into this year's Roland Garros singles final on Thursday, will now contest both finals this weekend. Krejcikova paired with her long-time partner Katerina Siniakova to dispatch Magda Linette and Bernarda Pera, 6-1, 6-2, in Friday's semifinals.
Krejcikova now has the chance to become the first player to sweep the singles and women's doubles titles at Roland Garros since Mary Pierce pulled off the feat in 2000. Serena Williams is the most recent player to sweep those two events at any Grand Slam tournament, at 2016 Wimbledon.
In the final, the Czech duo will face Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Iga Swiatek, who ousted Irina-Camelia Begu and Nadia Podoroska, 6-3, 6-4. Swiatek won the Roland Garros singles title last year and was a singles quarterfinalist this year in her title defense.
No.2 seeds Krejcikova and Siniakova have now reached both Grand Slam women's doubles finals this season. They finished as runners-up to Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka at this year's Australian Open.
Krejcikova and Siniakova, both former WTA Doubles World No.1s, are seeking their second Roland Garros women's doubles title, having won the event for their first Grand Slam title in 2018. They followed up with the title at 2018 Wimbledon one month later.
From the very first game, Krejcikova and Siniakova exhibited the guile which pulled them to the title three years ago, breaking Pera of the United States and Linette of Poland straight away.
The Czechs faced a break point for the only time in the set at 2-1, but Krejcikova swatted that away with a winning volley, before a Siniakova ace got them back on track to the hold for 3-1. The No.2 seeds swept through the rest of the set, which ended with a Krejcikova forehand winner.
Another forehand winner by Krejcikova put her squad ahead 2-0 in the second set as well. However, the aggressive play by Linette and Pera kicked into gear over the next few games, as they earned their first two service breaks of the day and stayed within touching distance at 3-2.
But in the next game, the Czechs came out on top in rallies and regained their break lead for 4-2, kicking off a run of three straight games as they swept into another Grand Slam final. Overall, Krejcikova and Siniakova converted seven of their 11 break points during their 71-minute win.
No.14 seeds Mattek-Sands and Swiatek, playing just their third event together, have already built up a solid 9-2 win-loss record during their nascent partnership.
Swiatek now has a chance to follow up her 2020 Roland Garros singles title with her first Grand Slam women's doubles title the very next year. In fact, a victory on Sunday would be Swiatek's first doubles title on the tour.
The 20-year-old Pole has a partner whose history in major finals is sterling -- Mattek-Sands is an undefeated 5-0 in Grand Slam women's doubles finals, including French Open titles alongside Lucie Safarova in 2015 and 2017.
A Mattek-Sands volley winner on break point at 4-3 gave her tandem a pivotal lead in the opening set, and despite dazzling defense and aggressive returning by Begu and Podoroska in the next game, Swiatek was able to serve out the set and put her team in the driver’s seat.
Begu of Romania and Podoroska of Argentina were able to fend off multiple break points at 1-1 and 2-2, as the unseeded pair stuck with Mattek-Sands and Swiatek for the opening half of the second set.
However, at 3-3, they were less successful, as Podoroska fell behind 0-40 on her service, then watched a Swiatek forehand passing shot zip past her pairing for the break.
That break proved to be decisive, as Mattek-Sands and Swiatek would charge to victory. At 5-4, Swiatek did have to face a break point on her service, but Begu fired her return long to cede that opportunity, and the American-Polish pairing claimed the win two points later, after an hour and 34 minutes of play.