Sunday, 25 June, 2017

Out-of-nowhere Ostapenko to face Halep for French Open title

Nathaniel Diaz | 09 June, 2017, 09:31

Ostapenko presented herself with the flawless 20th birthday gift by reaching a first French Open final after blasting past 30th seed Bacsinszky, a semi-finalist also in 2015.

The last unseeded player to reach the final at Roland Garros was Mima Jausovec, who lost to seven-time French Open champion Chris Evert in 1983.

"She came out like a thunderstorm in the third set". "I love to play here, I love you guys, you're unbelievable, thanks for coming to support me".

In the decisive set, the Romanian started very well and took a comfortable 4-1 lead, which she kept until the final, winning the set 6-3. It quickly improved, however, and she mostly cruised through to the quarterfinals before her comeback against Svitolina.

Ostapenko's forehand, which this fortnight has averaged three miles per hour faster than Andy Murray's, had helped her blast her way past Sam Stosur and Wozniacki in the previous two rounds.

Amazingly it would be her first professional title of any kind, emulating the feat of Brazilian great Gustavo Kuerten, who also announced himself to the world by coming from nowhere to win the men's crown at Roland Garros in 1997. The most unbelievable part of Vinci's participation in the final was that she stunned Serena Williams in the semifinals, ending the American's attempt to pull off a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Bacsinszky had to break for treatment during that first set after injuring her knee. Ostapenko faltered when she tried to serve it out at 6-5, but the Latvian took the tie-break with a swinging backhand volley.

Ostapenko - who practiced ballroom dancing when younger - signaled her promise in tennis by winning the Wimbledon juniors in 2014. "I think that's what made these matches more special". "I'm playing a young player, it is a big challenge and it will be great to play here on Chatrier again".

Dabrowski, who is from Canada, and her Indian partner rallied to beat Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany and Robert Farah of Colombia 2-6, 6-2, 12-10 for their first Grand Slam title.

"I really happy, I love to play here and I'm just happy the way I celebrate my birthday", Ostapenko grinned.

After advancing to the semifinals of the French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on Tuesday, becoming the first lady tennis player from Latvia to ever do so, Alona Ostapenko said that this achievement is something which is hard to believe, but called tomorrow's match on her birthday as "exciting".

Remarkably, it was also the birthday of Ostapenko's opponent Timea Bacsinszky, who turned 28, but it was the world number 47 who came out on top 7-6 (7/4) 3-6 6-3. She had just 14 unforced errors though, compared to Pliskova's 55.

"I expect her to give everything she has, to hit all the balls, to play with confidence".

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