Sports

Jelena Ostapenko fights back in fairytale final

Jelena Ostapenko fights back in fairytale final

Halep said she had been sick with nerves in the 24 hours leading into the final, knowing what was at stake and how much of an opportunity it was to get her first Grand Slam title.

Simona Halep is targeting the world number one ranking in Saturday's French Open final but fast-rising Latvian upstart Jelena Ostapenko threatens to crash the Romanian's party as a first-time major champion will be crowned.

The 20-year-old Ostapenko is the first unseeded woman to lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen since Britain's Margaret Scriven in 1933.

Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko celebrates winning her semifinal match against Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland in three sets, 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-3, of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France.

Jelena Ostapenko has produced an incredible performance against Simona Halep in the Roland-Garros final, belting a backhand victor for her first major title on Saturday. The Kiwi-American duo beat their Mexican-American counterparts in a fierce battle that saw the first two sets going into a tiebreaker to win 7-6 (5) 6-7 (4) 6-3 and bag their maiden Grand Slam title.

Jelena Ostapenko turned 20 on the Thursday that she reached her first Major final. "Not before that. I was just taking it step by step". She is not unknown to us and she has always been a very risky player.

The Latvian pulled on level terms at 3-3 and then went ahead with a break thanks to a massive stroke of fortune when her backhand, which was going to land at least a foot wide, caught the net and dropped dead the other side.

Ostapenko was playing in only her eighth Grand Slam tournament, never having been past the third round.

"I'm really happy to win here", Ostapenko said after the match, evidently under the huge influence of emotions, "I think I still can not believe it because it was my dream and now it came true".

Amazingly it was Ostapenko's first title on Tour with her previous highlight coming in 2014 when she won the junior title at Wimbledon. She stormed to the last five games, officially winning her first grand slam title by crushing a backhand return victor down the line.

"I was nervous", she said. "It was my dream", said Ostapenko, who will rocket to 12th in the rankings. I fought for every point. We're going into grass season, where she'll be on even more solid ground. Hurts a lot, and I need time just to, I don't know. I don't think I will believe it for another couple of days or weeks.

Medina Garrigues was not shocked by the shots Ostapenko went for and pulled off but had not expected her charge to handle herself with quite so much poise.

With the rankings cut-off several weeks ago, Ostapenko is now still one out, although a wild card will surely be made available for her if she wants it.

"When I was in Auckland I really wanted to jump from the tower but my mum really did not want me to do it because she felt it was kind of risky".

Simona Halep (L) was beaten 4-6 6-4 6-3 in the French Open 2017 final.

Halep presents something of a polar opposite with the ball in play: She extends points, grinding along the baseline and sliding to retrieve ball after ball, forcing foes to come up with the goods time after time.

After 2014, Halep had once again a chance to win the French Open, but eventually, she missed it.


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