Ostapenko celebrates birthday with French Open final berth

In Thursday's second women's singles semi-final, Halep will take on second seed Czech Karolina Pliskova, who defeated Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 in their final-eight match up.

However, with the final now set, Halep can turn her attention to Ostapenko, claiming the No. 1 seed and her first Grand Slam.

Ostapenko, the world number 47, is the first unseeded player to reach the final at Roland Garros since Mima Jausovec in 1983.

Both have their birthdays today - Ostapenko her 20th and Bacsinszky her 28th - but only one of them will be celebrating with a maiden grand slam final.

The Latvian powered her way to a 7-6 (7/4) 3-6 6-3 victory to become as the youngest player to reach a grand slam final since Caroline Wozniacki in NY eight years ago.

In what was seen as the most open grand slam tournament in living memory, it is perhaps no surprise that a real outlier has come through to reach the final. For Halep to become number one she would have to win today's match and Saturday's final.

"Tennis is not popular in our country because it's a kind of expensive sport", said Ostapenko, who will crack the top 20 after her breakout display in Paris.

Only Venus Williams had taken a set off Bacsinszky at the tournament prior to that and she hit back with a clinical second-set showing in which she made just four unforced errors.

Kuerten won that year's French Open - the first of three Roland Garros titles for the Brazilian - on the same day Ostapenko was born.

For 30th-seeded Bacsinszky it was a second semi-final defeat in three years in Paris.

Feted by the Roland Garros crowd with two renditions of Bon Anniversaire (Happy Birthday) as injured Bacsinszky trudged from the court after a 145-minute battle, Ostapenko was overwhelmed with joy.

"I'm of course happy, but I'm not that excited". "When I sat down at 2-5 (in the second set) I just said the match is lost".

"But then I was just trying to be calm and just to try to play my game and just enjoy every moment". Svitolina said she felt the nerves during the contest.

Halep said: "I feel that she played unbelievable tennis in the first set and until the end of the second set, 5-1". "I created myself some opportunities, but on the other side of the net she was playing quite well, and she was defending very well everything I was proposing". "I love to play here, I love you guys, you're wonderful, thanks for coming to support me".

"I think Gaby came out with a great return on, I think, 9-8 when Robert served".

"I think more about the game, and I play smarter, in my opinion, and also physically". The two players then each held serve for the remainder of the first set before Halep was able to close out the first set 6-4.

  • Julie Sanders