Jelena Ostapenko beats Simona Halep to win French Open
- Author: Julie Sanders Jun 15, 2017,
Jun 15, 2017, 21:36
Looking ahead to the ladies French Open final, former champion Chris Evert had said: "Not many players win their first final in a Grand Slam".
She was 3-1 down in the second and third sets but kept coming back with her no-fear hitting.
The 20-year-old trailed by a set and was 3-0 down in the second to Halep - who would have become world number one with a win - but prevailed 4-6 6-4 6-3. Here are the takeaways fro.
"I'm really happy to win here", Ostapenko said after the match, evidently under the huge influence of emotions, "I think I still can not believe it because it was my dream and now it came true".
"It's her second Grand Slam final, it's obviously a wonderful thing to make it through to the final and it's hard to win them and that's why they're so special when you finally do win one. Enjoy it, be happy and keep it going because you're like a kid". Despite her early 3-1 lead in the third set Saturday, she could not hold off Ostapenko.
The Romanian continued her dominance in the second set and took a 3-0 lead over Ostapenko.
'Even when she got to the quarter-finals she was happy but not excited.
At 20, Ostapenko is the youngest French Open champion since Iva Majoli won at 19 in 1997 and the youngest at any Grand Slam since Sharapova won the 2006 U.S. Open at 19.
In baking sunshine Ostapenko began the match by breaking Halep's serve with three clean winners and ended it, two hours later with two scintillating backhands. And also I think my character is like that. Three years ago it was something new, so now I know.
Nadal hasn't dropped a set but will be wary of the threat carried by three-time grand slam victor Wawrinka.
Wimbledon is the next grand slam tournament of the year next month and Ostapenko's style of play should be well suited to playing on grass.
Ostapenko's carefree attacking tennis ultimately proved too strong for the consistency and experience of Halep, with the favourite helpless by the closing stages.
She hit a staggering 245 winners on her way to the final and blasted 54 to Halep's eight, and matched it however with 54 unforced errors on her way to the title. I can not change anything, so I just have to look forward.
Ostapenko was initially coached by her mother, with her father serving as a fitness trainer, but is now working with two-time French Open doubles champion Anabel Medina Garrigues.
Her backhand down the line was going wide until it hit the top of the net, changed direction and seemed to hang in the air for an eternity.
'I think yes, ' she said. "I was a little bit nervous but then I felt I have nothing to lose, so I'm just going to enjoy the match and do my best", she admitted. "I think I played OK".
She conjured up three set points with a laser forehand down the line, forcing the match to a third set with another sweetly-struck victor. Ostapenko, 20, won the important points, including late in the third set. Because of all the wonderful things she acheived in the span of one tournament, there's no reason to think she can't make a deep run, and possibly get another win, at the All England Club when Wimbeldon commences in less than a month.
She thumped 14 winners to Halep's one in the first set, but committed 23 unforced errors to two - and paid the price for her relentless aggression.
Before beating Halep, Ostapenko allowed the media to get to know her as she answered a number of questions on topics other than the final.
"She danced, swam, played tennis, she played football because she had so much energy".