Ostapenko rallies to beat Halep in French Open final

JELENA Ostapenko has completed an extraordinary grand slam fairytale, upstaging Simona Halep to win the French Open.

She would beat a former Grand Slam champion, Sam Stosur, a former world No1 Caroline Wozniacki, the reigning Olympic champion Monica Puig, and would finally deny the woman who could claim the top ranking for the first time if she won the title, Simona Halep.

She is the first unseeded woman to win the French Open since 1933.

No 3 seed Halep defended her serve staunchly to take a 5-4 lead, a moment which felt important as Ostapenko's blistering assault threatened to waver.

Ostapenko, who will rise to world number 12 from 47 following Saturday's win, also worked a lot on her forehand, which was then her weakest shot.

Halep would have been world No 1 had she won the title, however it was not her day, as Ostapenko became the youngest woman to win since 1997, the first Latvian to win a grand slam singles title.

Many parts of Ostapenko's game malfunctioned at various times in this match, which is usually a kiss of death against the consistent, speedy, error-free Halep.

The last woman to win her first tour-level title at a major was Barbara Jordan at the 1979 Australian Open. "I just enjoy it so much".

While Ostapenko flew in under the radar during this Grand Slam, that's an advantage she'll never hold again.

Contrastingly, for all her inexperience, playing in what will now be forever regarded as her career-defining match, this was one aspect in which Ostapenko didn't falter, proving herself to be a champion in equanimity in tandem with the scoreline.

However, the unseeded Ostapenko once again bounced back and eventually won the match along with the prestigious title 6-3.

"I wish you good luck for the season". A couple of break points to make it 4-0 presented themselves to the Romanian giving an impression that she had found a way to counter her opponent's onslaught.

Money will no longer be a problem for Ostapenko, her mother and father or half-brother Maksim, who lives in Los Angeles.

"I'm looking forward to Wimbledon because grass is one of my favorite surfaces", she said.

Halep said: "Thank you for coming".

She has more titles in sight, vowing to stay true to her fearless, big-hitting game.

This was the classic contrast of styles, with Halep a superb mover and defender, but ultimately aggression won out.

It was a match filled with wild momentum swings between two players displaying completely disparate styles: Ostapenko's grip-it-and-rip-it approach vs. Halep's more conservative keep-the-ball-in philosophy. "She kept Halep waiting on the baseline for almost a minute as she rearranged her towels and her bag at the start of the match".

Halep, the runner-up in 2014 also, hailed Ostapenko. "She deserved to win", said the Romanina.

And her intent was clear right from the start as she broke Halep's serve to love in the opening game with an array of winners. This was her second French Open final loss even as Ostapenko became the first person from her country to win a Major.

Each of them said there was very little they could have done to change things, such was the power and utter fearlessness of Ostapenko, who said she was nervous in the final but showed no sign of it as she continued to crack the ball as hard as she could.

  • Julie Sanders