gamesindustryblog.com
gamesindustryblog.com June 24, 2017


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

09 June 2017, 09:25 | Simon Arnold

"I'm just happy with the way I celebrated my birthday!" said Jelena Ostapenko as the crowd sang "happy birthday" to her. I love to play here, I love you guys, you're incredible.

Bacsinszky had to break for treatment during that first set after injuring her knee. 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.

Ostapenko's run is all the more remarkable given her third-round exit at this year's Australian Open represented her best previous Grand Slam performance. "I'm playing a young player - it is a big challenge".

Czech second seed Pliskova would have become world number one next week had she won the second semi-final.

Halep was thankful still to be in the tournament after her remarkable recovery from a set and 5-1 down against Elina Svitolina in the quarter-finals.

Pliskova was gasping for air after the longer points, but saved three break-back points in the next game and another forehand victor ensured both semi-finals would go the distance.

Different than the Halep-Pliskova variety-power dynamic, yet similar in a broad context, this match was about Ostapenko handling the occasion, the wind and a tricky opponent better suited to the surface (in fact, the Latvian's favorite surface is grass, which rewards her prodigious power, bang-bang style and youthful impatience).

Ostapenko then broke early in the second set but Bacsinszky won the last four games and levelled the match when her opponent double faulted.

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Bacsinszky lamented letting Ostapenko gain steam in the opening set en route to losing in the tournament's semifinals for the second time in three years. If Halep can get past Pliskova and then go on to win the title, she'll be the new No. 1.

The world No 47 hit a staggering 50 winners in a 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-3 win over two hours and 25 minutes against Timea Bacsinszky, the No 30 seed. "I'm just going to go there and enjoy the match and try to show my best".

The contest was tight, Ostapenko winning 106 points to Bacsinszky's 105, but even that did not spoil the mood of the Swiss, who was obviously disappointed but dejected.

Pliskova ended the tie with 45 winners and a staggering 55 unforced errors. "It was really tough to keep my concentration all day long".

It was an impressive recovery in stifling 28 degree heat, but wasn't enough to encourage the large number of fans who had abandoned their seats on Philippe Chatrier court to return.

"It is nice to be in the final again", said Halep, who lost to Maria Sharapova in the 2014 French Open final.

Bacsinszky received treatment on her right knee and consulted with the tournament doctor.

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



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