Martedì, 17 Luglio, 2018

Ostapenko celebrates birthday with French Open final berth

Pammachio Corsino | 14 Giugno, 2017, 03:35

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.

A scruffy game followed from Ostapenko as a huge opportunity appeared to go begging, though she made amends in the tie-break.

Halep came close to a maiden grand slam title here in 2014, losing 6-4 6-7 6-4 to Maria Sharapova in the final.

Women's No. 3 seed Simona Halep of Romania made a comeback into the final at Roland Garros after three years with a three-set victory over the second-seeded Karolina Pliskova, while Latvian promising star Jelena Ostapenko got a flawless birthday gift as she overcame Timea Bacsinszky in the semifinals here on Thursday.

"I m not ashamed to say that she played better. I'm just happy with the way I celebrated my birthday!" said Jelena Ostapenko, who turned 20 on Thursday, after her semi-final win.

In the other match, teenager Ostapenko, playing at Roland Garros for just the second time in her career, defeated former world No.1 Denmark's Caroline Wozniackion 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and 53 minutes.

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.

Like Ostapenko, Halep is one win away from her first Grand Slam title. "It's nice to be in the finals again. I'm playing a young player - it is a big challenge". Especially since reuniting with her coach, who quit in March because of her negative attitude on the court, Halep, who's never won a major, has been considered a favorite to snap that drought here. The last woman to win her first title in a Grand Slam event was Australian Chris O'Neil at the 1978 Australian Open, and the last man to do it was Gustavo Kuerten at Roland Garros in 1997.


In the mid second set Simona dropped much, and she was broken in the sixth game as Pliskova started to play more aggressive and to make fewer errors.

Asked how she thought she could handle Ostapenko's power in future, the Swiss joked: "Well, I was thinking about gaining three inches or four inches".

Svitolina, who herself had come back from trailing 5-2 in the third set of her fourth-round match, acknowledged that "a little bit of nerves" didn't help her cause against Halep.

Pliskova then broke to level the set but Halep broke straight back to leave the Romanian serving for the match. "We are trying to improve my game and I think it's working pretty well". And to put it into context, 50 winners is enough to win two full sets (and the first two points of a third).

Mladenovic won her first WTA singles title in St Petersburg this year to add to her 2016 French Open doubles title. I felt like that on court, and I felt that I have to run for every ball.

Halep entered Roland Garros with an ankle issue, but has only lost one set en route to the final.

- Ostapenko took the first set 7-6 (4).

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