Jelena Ostapenko shows no fear ahead of meeting Simona Halep in final
- Author: Julie Sanders Jun 22, 2017,
Jun 22, 2017, 16:22
Halep then beat Karolina Pliskova, who would have replaced Kerber as the new number one had she made the final, for the fifth time in six meetings to set up an intriguing clash with unseeded Ostapenko.
In the semi-finals, Simona Halep defeated Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 and Ostapenko got the better of 30-seeded Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland 7-6 (4), 3-6 6-3.
The powerful Pliskova saved three set points to prolong the first set, but Halep mixed up her game superbly and was a set up when her opponent blasted a forehand wide.
Not since Mima Jausovec in 1983 has an unseeded player reached the French Open final, while Ostapenko is the first Latvian grand slam finalist and the youngest at any slam since Caroline Wozniacki eight years ago.
"When I came here, of course I didn't expect I would be in the final", said Ostapenko, who celebrated her 20th birthday on Thursday by overpowering Timea Bacsinszky in the semi-finals.
"I didn't think I would be in the final but every match I've played better", Ostapenko said. "But I was working on the forehand, and I think it's pretty good now", said a grinning Ostapenko.
But it was her response to being pegged back in the second set that truly won over the Roland Garros crowd, with Ostapenko's power game proving too much for her Swiss opponent as she broke twice to win the deciding set 6-3.
Halep said of the match point: "I didn't realise. I think it's a nice gift".
Both women also have a chance of taking the world number one spot.
"In the third set I just wanted to stay playing aggressive".
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.
She's never won a WTA title in her career and hadn't won a single match at the French Open prior to this year's event. I came through a tough match yesterday, but I just care about today. The 25-year-old will attempt to avenge her 2014 French Open final loss to Russian Maria Sharapova in this year's championship match. "I'm playing a young player - it is a big challenge".
On Thursday, she will face No. 2 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, a 7-6 (3), 6-4 victor over No. 28 Carolina Garcia of France.
And another ferocious forehand helped her break back as Bacsinszky rallied at the start of the second. I just tried to make her move more.
She sealed the victory in a tight contest on her first match point with a forehand victor down the line.
Dabrowski, who is from Canada, and her Indian partner fended off two match points on their way to a 2-6, 6-2, 12-10 victory over Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany and Robert Farah of Colombia for their first Grand Slam title.