Jelena Ostapenko fights back in fairytale final
- Author: Julie Sanders Jun 19, 2017,
Jun 19, 2017, 17:12
"I'm looking forward to Wimbledon because grass is one of my favourite surfaces", she said. If she plays good, it's very hard that somebody can beat her.
But when Halep led by a set and 3-0 in the second, with three chances to go up 4-0, she became unnerved, perhaps thinking about what it would feel like to lift the trophy.
Her win makes her the youngest Roland Garros champion since Iva Majoli in 1997, and the youngest Slam victor since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 US Open.
Ostapenko had promised to stick to her uncomplicated routine of attack-attack-attack before the final and was true to her word as she walloped 54 clean winners - and 54 unforced errors. But Ostapenko rallied, as she would against two much more experienced players - 2011 U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur in the fourth round and former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals. But I tried to play aggressive and everything turned my way. I'm really, really happy.
"I still can not believe it - it was my dream and it has come true. I think I'm going to only understand that in maybe couple of days or couple of weeks (smiling)".
"It's just the way I play, and also I think my character is like that". I think I played okay. "It's just the way I play. And then (if) a lot of these top players continue to play against each other, create some rivalries, (there will be) a lot of interest in the women's game".
Ostapenko's wildness betrayed her as she served to stay in the set at 4-5, netting a forehand to offer Halep set point and drilling long to gift the Romanian the set.
Next on the agenda for Ostapenko is the Aegon Classic in Birmingham but she is not yet in the field, now still one out with the rankings cut-off several weeks ago, although a wild card will surely be made available if she chooses to take it.
It was her first career title as she became the lowest-ranked victor in Paris, taking the trophy in just her eighth major appearance. So it was a little bit of like emotional moment, but that's it.
"She has a lot of advantage because she knows most of the match depends on her side. To go away (smiling)".
Throughout the tournament, the Latvian has shown off her enormous power, with an entertaining approach leading to plenty of unforced errors.
Halep led by a set and 3-0 in the second and was cruising towards her first grand slam title when her opponent began the fightback. This will be tough, for sure but I think she will regroup and be a better player.
And, if all that wasn't historic enough, Ostapenko is the first Latvian, man or woman, to ever win a Grand Slam event.