Sports

Halep to Meet Ostapenko for Roland Garros Title

Halep to Meet Ostapenko for Roland Garros Title

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.

That came at the end of an agitated night for Bacsinszky, who explained her nightmare.

"It was extremely tough today as Karolina is a very tough opponent". I'm a competitor, and it really pisses me off not to be in the final.

Well, it worked. The No. 3-seeded Halep came all the way back to beat No. 5 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-0 on Wednesday, saving a match point en route to reaching the semifinals at Roland Garros for the second time.

While Ostapenko is assured of making her debut in the top 20 next week thanks to her surprising showing at the French Open, there is more at stake for the No. 3-seeded Halep: In addition to a chance for Grand Slam title No. 1, a victory would allow the 25-year-old to seize the No. 1 ranking for the first time, too.

"At the beginning, I was serving pretty bad there, and I suffered two double faults in that game".

"In the third set I just wanted to stay playing aggressive".

"If I could be only disappointed on one aspect of the match it's some opportunities I had in the first set", Bacsinszky said. 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.

"We were a bit unsure how she would be after the ankle injury (at the Italian Open) in Rome but she seems to be getting better and better with every match", she added.

- Ostapenko also praised her coach Anabel Medina Garrigues, a former world number 16, who teamed up with the Latvian earlier this season.

Ostapenko has been creating history throughout the week, as she became the first Latvian to reach a Grand Slam semifinal on Tuesday when she bounced 11th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. "I feel really privileged", Bacsinszky said.

Logic suggested the steady approach she adopted after losing the first-set tie-break would get the job done for the experienced Swiss, not the white-knuckle rollercoaster tennis Ostapenko was playing. "I think she's one of the best on clay, maybe one of the best at this tournament". But the Latvian took the challenge to Bacsinszky with her aggression, nipping ahead at 4-3 before the Swiss called for the trainer.

The No. 1 ranking will hang in the balance: If Pliskova reaches the final, she will replace Angelique Kerber, a first-round loser in Paris, atop the WTA. I have the mentality to win, but it's going to be tough.

"I hope I can play better than the previous time and that the score will be different", said Halep, who lost in three sets to Maria Sharapova in her first appearance in the final at Roland Garros. "That helped me win today".

"I didn't think I would ever make it back".

- World number 47 Ostapenko hit an impressive tally of 50 winners in the match that lasted two hours and 24 minutes.


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