Halep, Ostapenko to clash for French Open title

Ostapenko, who was celebrating her 20th birthday on the same day she beat Bacsinszky, will face the third-seeded Halep in the final after the Romanian outfoxed Pliskova 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to reach her second singles final at Roland Garros.

Halep will play in her second major final this weekend after beating the powerful Karolina Pliskova 6-4 3-6 6-3 in the second semi-final on Court Philippe Chatrier.

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 the first Latvian to reach a Slam final, going one step further than Ernests Gulbis in 2014 when a young Ostapenko was in his players' box as he beat Roger Federer in the quarter-finals in Paris. "I m a competitor, and it really annoys me not to be in the final", said Bacsinszky, who was beaten on her 28th birthday. "I'm playing a young player - it is a big challenge".

However, the gritty Romanian proved just the stronger in the deciding set after winning a long game to break for 3-1 with a brilliant running forehand pass and then fought off two break points in the following game.

"I am really happy", said Ostapenko after her win on the clay. I expect her to give everything she has, to hit all the balls, to play with confidence.

Ranked No 47 in the world, Ostapenko is the lowest-ranked grand slam finalist since Sharon Walsh at the 1979 Australian Open. They had very similar stats in serve percentage and aces, but Ostapenko hit more winners with 50 against Bacsinszky's 22.

Ukrainian Svitolina saved four set points at 5-6 in the second and then had a match point in the tiebreak which Halep saved with a fearless forehand that kissed the sideline and followed that with an improvised backhand victor.

"When I came here, of course I didn't expect I would be in the final", Ostapenko said. Ostapenko's aggressive style will clash against Halep's formidable deep game, and the match may come down to who ends up blinking first and has to adapt their respective styles.

Her average forehand speed exceeds men's No. 1 Andy Murray's and is only slight slower than 14-time grand slam victor Rafael Nadal's.

Bacsinszky, who was beaten in three sets by eventual champion Serena Williams on her previous trip to the last four, broke Ostapenko for an early 2-0 lead.

"I don't think we can ever see another guy like this", Kuerten said. She will be hoping to go at least one better this year.

"Her chances are excellent if she plays with 90 percent of her ability, I think she would have a chance to win the whole thing", Wilander told Reuters.

  • Julie Sanders