Jelena Ostapenko Pulls A Thrilling Upset To Win The French Open
- Author: Julie Sanders Jun 10, 2017,
Jun 10, 2017, 19:47
Ostapenko's win over Halep is perhaps one the biggest upsets in the finals of the grand slam history.
Having just turned 20, Ostapenko is the youngest finalist here since Ana Ivanovic 10 years ago, yet she has barely shown any nerves on her way to the final.
20 - years since someone as young as Ostapenko (she is 20 years old and 3 days) won the French Open women's singles title. The ankle issue she picked up in the Rome final cleared up just in time and, if she wins the title, she will also become world No 1 for the first time.
But unseeded Ostapenko, who previously had never gone beyond the third round of any Grand Slam, is that kind of unknown quantity who seems to believe this is her time. "Something she enjoys", Medina Garrigues said.
8 Since Hall of Famer Justine Henin won her third straight Roland Garros crown in 2007, eight different women have raised the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen with only Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova winning the title twice in that span.
Halep, seeded third at this competition, has been in tremendous form throughout the clay-court season and has come through some gruelling matches to make it this far.
"I say always that I play well with the pressure, but now, I don't need it. She has nothing to lose but I'm ready".
Both ladies are reliant on their power games, but whilst Simona Halep is more the force on the front-foot forehand, Jelena Ostapenko will look to her booming backhand and defence game, to hold off her opponent. Her previous experience in the 2014 final will help her though.
Halep was the rising young player in that final, now she faces off against 2014 Wimbledon junior champion Ostapenko in a career-defining match.
"She puts every ball back", her semifinal opponent, Karolina Pliskova, herself a big hitter, said.
On the strength of an unrelentingly aggressive attack, hitting just about as many unforced errors as she did winners, Ostapenko ultimately wore down Halep, taking the second and third sets in thrilling fashion.
Nowhere was her tenacity and ability to soak up punishment more apparent than in the quarter-finals when she trailed Elina Svitolina by a set and 5-1, but somehow found a way to win.
Simona Halep, the No. 3 seed, former finalist and odds-on favorite to win the event going in, slogged through in the bottom half.
Looking ahead to Saturday, Halep said: "Of course, this match is really important, and I will not hide the heaviness that it has".
The eventual champion on Saturday will be a first-time major victor while victory for Halep would crown her as the new world number one, replacing Angelique Kerber.
A telling statistic: Of the 33 points Halep won in the first set, only one - yes, just one! - came via a victor off her racket.
"But I will focus more on myself". "But I was working on the forehand and I think it's pretty good now".