Ostapenko: 'Enjoy the match, fight until last point' | Wins Roland Garros 2017

Hazel Gray
June 14, 2017

"I always had the possibility I could hit the ball really hard". It was Jelena Ostapenko this time.

Those numbers are counter-balanced by her unforced errors - 54 on Saturday and 271 in total - but they were not enough to stop the energy-charged Ostapenko from bulldozing her way to the title, firing faster forehands on average than men's world number one Andy Murray. I don't think I will believe it for another couple of days or weeks. When serving at 5-4, Ostapenko smiled as the French crowd rose in a Mexican wave.

In an extraordinary climax to an extraordinary match in an extraordinary French Open campaign, a new champion has been born. "Enjoy it be happy and keep it going because you're like a kid", she said.

JELENA Ostapenko has completed an extraordinary grand slam fairytale, upstaging Simona Halep to win the French Open.

The unlikeliest Grand Slam win in recent times was, of course, defined by a few astonishing numbers and facts.

Ostapenko was born on the very day that Gustavo Kuerten became the last player to win a grand slam as first title by winning the French Open.

Cahill had briefly walked away from his partnership with Halep after Miami in March due to her negative attitude during matches but reunited with her prior to the clay season.

"Everybody knows she can play very good, but I think nobody expected (her) to (do) what she did", said Anabel Medina Garrigues, who began coaching Ostapenko in April.

The junior Wimbledon champion in 2014, she will now head to the All England Club next month among the contenders.

After 2014, Halep had once again a chance to win the French Open, but eventually, she missed it. Despite having only recently turned 20, or perhaps because of it, she brimmed with confidence and performed with conviction.

Though Ostapenko would have plenty of wobbles and misfires in the big-hitting games to come, she never once gave the impression that she was out of her element. Third seed Halep buckled under the strain of fending off the missiles being launched off Ostapenko's lime green racket. Is this the beginning of a glorious career for the young girl, only time will tell but as of now she is Philippe-Chatrier's heroine, not afraid of anything. In the run-up to Paris, she had won the title in Madrid, made the finals in Rome and the semi-finals in Stuttgart. But she held, and went on a four-game surge, playing the only way she knows how: from the front foot and going for the lines.

Halep sealed it on the fifth break of serve of the set when Ostapenko hit a forehand long.

However, in an extended fourth game, she couldn't convert any of three break points to go 4-0 up and Ostapenko won six of the next seven games to wrestle momentum.

Like Sharapova, Ostapenko is a powerful and fearless hitter from the baseline, addicted to risk and capable of producing winners and unforced errors in flurries. She played really well, all the credit.

After telling herself to calm down on multiple occasions, Ostapenko started finding her range in the second set.

And then there was no looking back for Ostapenko as she continued with the thought of "nothing to lose". Until Saturday in Paris, no one had come back from that deficit to capture the crown.

That's quite impressive.' Speaking about her future, Ostapenko said: 'I'm really happy, but I still have to improve some things and to get better as player.

Other reports by VgToday

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER