Halep to Meet Ostapenko for Roland Garros Title

Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko celebrates her win over Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland during their semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Thursday, June 8, 2017 in Paris. She will play either the second seed Karolina Pliskova or the third seed Simona Halep in the final on Saturday.

Halep came close to a maiden grand slam title here in 2014, losing 6-4 6-7 6-4 to Maria Sharapova in the final.

Timea Bacsinszky, who turned 28 on the day of the semi-final, would have known what to expect when she took to Philippe-Chatrier, but knowing what was going to come from Ostapenko's racket and counteracting it proved two very different things.

Following a last eight win over Denmark's former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, Ostapenko became the first teenager to reach the penultimate stage of the Grand Slam event since 2007, when Serbia's Ana Ivanovic achieved the feat.

She is also the first Latvian player to reach a grand slam final. The Romanian, who will be No. 1 in the Race to Singapore next week and No.

Halep looks for her first career grand slam title, and this is her second grand slam final appearance. When she broke back for 3-3, she looked the more likely victor but Ostapenko upped her game again and stormed into the final.

She had her first match point at 6-5 but Halep found the outside of the line and the Romanian then took her chance, going on to win 3-6 7-6 (8/6) 6-0.

Ostapenko, who celebrated her 20th birthday on Thursday, had never won a match at the French Open before last week. "I'm playing a young player - it is a big challenge".

"But then I was just trying to be calm and just to try to play my game and just enjoy every moment".

After falling into a 4-1 hole, Pliskova managed to get the set to 4-3, before Halep took the reigns back and didn't relinquish them for the rest of the match.

Pliskova, also in quest for the world No. 1 place, bounced back in a 6-3 win in the second set.

If Halep defeats Ostapenko, she will claim the No. 1 overall ranking in the WTA from Angelique Kerber.

A few hours later she had her answer as Ostapenko, the youngest, lowest-ranked and least experienced of the quartet produced a fearless performance to beat Bacsinszky in three absorbing sets - belting 50 winners in the process.

"In the third set I just wanted to stay playing aggressive". Pliskova ended the tie with 45 winners and a staggering 55 unforced errors.

She has 245 winners from six rounds - more than Andy Murray s 174 after five matches.

Pliskova, who is not a claycourt expert, played her best match of the tournament, but it was not enough to subdue Halep, whose never-say-die attitude helped her survive a quarter-final against Elina Svitolina, during which she saved a match point.

  • Julie Sanders