Venerdì, 20 Luglio, 2018

Unseeded Ostapenko stuns Halep to claim maiden grand slam title

Pammachio Corsino | 20 Giugno, 2017, 02:05

Having arrived in Paris as the little-known world number 47 from Latvia, Ostapenko leaves as the world number 12 and with her career earnings nearly tripled.

After winning a first-set slugfest with some brilliant extended rallies, the air looked like it came out of Ostapenko's balloon as Halep ran out to a 3-0 lead. That also helped me. "[It] hurts a lot, and I need time just to-I don't know-to go away (smiling)".

Prior to her exploits in Paris, Ostapenko's professional earnings stacked up to just over $1.2million.

She arrived in Paris having reached a final on the WTA tour in each of the last three years but with no title to her name.

It was not always like that.

Ostapenko had the advantage going into the third, but Halep showed her resiliency by jumping out to a 3-1 lead.

"She danced, swam, played tennis, she played football because she had so much energy. It's made for soccer". "If needed I will play 20 years to have this moment". But after breaking Halep in the next game, Ostapenko didn't waver, setting up her first set point with a monster forehand down the line before forcing a decider with another huge forehand, her 22nd victor of the set.

She had been the tournament favourite this time in the absence of Serena Williams, but again missed out on a first major title.

Afterwards, she thanked her tennis-coach mother Jelena Jakovleva and thought back to the day she decided it would be strictly tennis at the age of 12 rather than pursuing her love of ballroom.

Again refusing to rein in her aggression, Ostapenko stormed through the final five games - seemingly breaking Halep at will.

From those early days she progressed to juniors and second-tier ITF events, playing in front of just a handful of people.


She powered her way to 54 winners compared to eight for Halep, and that was the primary reason she won the match. "She deserved to win, she played very well". "That's unbelievable. There are not so many players like that".

Jakovleva has taken a step back and watched half of the tournament on TV at home before travelling to Paris.

Jelena Ostapenko, who is world number 47 before the Roland Garros victory, is now the lowest-ranked champion.

"I still have to improve some things and to get better as player". It was Jelena Ostapenko this time.

Halep told reporters after the match: "It is hard, but I think I did it pretty well today".

Bombarding Halep from the back-court, Ostapenko continued to land winners - but even more unforced errors and quickly lapsed to 0-3 (0-40).

Halep appeared on the way to a relative runaway, leading by a set and 3-0 in the second, then holding three break points for the chance to go ahead 4-0.

And she saved 10 of 16 break points - some when the contest hung in the balance.

'She has a lot to be proud of, ' said the Australian.

"I felt that if I was aggressive I would find my game", Ostapenko said to NBC reporter Mary Carillo on the broadcast after the match.

'Jelena won this match, Simona did not lose it.

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