Jelena Ostapenko wins the French Open

Paola Ditto
Giugno 20, 2017

Jelena Ostapenko, the 20-year-old player from Latvia, became a victor of the French Open 2017, she beatRomania's Simona Halep in three sets, 4-6 6-4 6-3.

Halep led by a set and 3-0 in the second and was cruising towards her first grand slam title when her opponent began the fightback. "I played well", said Halep, also a runner-up at Roland Garros to Maria Sharapova in 2014.

Ostapenko also recovered from a break behind in the third set and finished the contest with a flashing backhand victor to become the first unseeded player to win the title since Briton Margaret Scriven in 1933.

However, she admitted that when she came across a grass court for the first time, it was hardly love at first sight.

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

Ostapenko made 23 unforced errors in the first set and then trailed 3-0 in the second - saving three break points that would have seen her fall behind 0-4 - before turning the match around and forcing a third set. Halep took the first set, putting Ostapenko in a hole that no woman at the French Open has dug out of in 16 years.

She added: "I think it's a quite big deal in Latvia". Against serve, she blasted four consecutive points to register a quick break and send out a warning to her more experienced rival.

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.

"She can take the racket out of your hands", Halep's coach Darren Cahill said.

She stormed through the last five games in a row, apparently free of nerves, to clinch victory and grab her place among the elite of women's tennis. "I'm really happy. I have no words, it was my dream", Ostapenko said. But I tried to play aggressive and everything turned my way. "I think I'm going to only understand that in maybe couple of days or couple of weeks". And that is really what I struggled with and what I found so frustrating.

"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". "To all my family watching, my Mom is here watching, I wouldn't be here without you". It's so wonderful to be here.

"I think I was up in the third set 5-3, then I realised I can win the match", she said. "I'm glad it finished my way". I played well. But I think a little bit of luck in some points, all the lines, all the nets. She said in her Twitter post: "I congratulate Alona Ostapenko on her historical triumph at the French Open".

"I would like to thank my team, my parents".

"Let's keep working and let's believe", Halep told the crowd on the Court Philippe Chatrier at the trophy ceremony. "I would like to win all of the Grand Slams".

Ostapenko had never before won a tour-level title of any sort. Ostapenko's 50th victor of the match was another half-volley, helping her to a 5-3 lead, which she then converted against the serve by thumping Halep's delivery straight back past her.

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