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French Open: Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko wins maiden Grand Slam title

© Pierre René-Worms, FMM | Jelena Ostapenko, 20, is the first unseeded player to win the Roland Garros title

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2017-06-10

Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko stunned third seed Simona Halep 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 at Roland Garros on Saturday to clinch her maiden Grand Slam title and become the first Latvian to win one of the four major tennis tournaments.

Ostapenko, just two days past her 20th birthday, is also the first unseeded player to take home the French Open title.

For Halep, bidding to join fellow Romanians Ilie Nastase and Virginia Ruzici as major winners, it was a second final defeat in four years at Roland Garros.

The 25-year-old would have replaced Angelique Kerber as world number one with a victory, but Halep was overpowered as Ostapenko blasted 54 winners to the Romanian's 10.

Ostapenko set the tone immediately, disguising any nerves with an array of bruising groundstrokes to break Halep in the opening game.

But the Romanian delivered a swift counter-punch, hitting back straight away on the Latvian's serve before holding with ease for 2-1.

More crisp shotmaking for Ostapenko nudged the 20-year-old ahead once more, but the errors flew off her racquet just as regularly and Halep pulled 4-3 in front.

Ostapenko's wildness betrayed her as she served to stay in the set at 4-5, netting a forehand to offer Halep set point and drilling long to gift the Romanian the set.

The Latvian's mood soured further when Halep escaped from 0-40 down to begin the second set, the third seed then breaking Ostapenko to compound her frustration.

Halep consolidated with a gritty hold for 3-0 before Ostapenko fought off a trio of break points to stall her rival's momentum and spark an incredible comeback.

Fierce resolve... and a little luck

The Latvian moved level on serve when Halep hooked a forehand wide and then earned another break to chalk up a fourth game on the trot.

The errors crept back into her game and Halep responded for 4-4, but Ostapenko promptly broke to love to leave herself in sight of a deciding set.

She brought up three set points with a laser forehand down the line, forcing the match to a third set with another sweetly-struck winner.

Ostapenko continued her feast-or-famine style but watched two break points flash by as Halep withstood a sustained assault.

Halep broke for 3-1 when Ostapenko drilled long, but the latter retrieved it the next game with a thumping return.

The Latvian stepped in to pummel a weak second serve for 15-40, with Ostapenko grabbing a huge slice of luck when a wayward backhand clipped the net and dropped just over for a 4-3 lead.

Halep had no response this time and Ostapenko sealed a stunning triumph with another break by hammering a backhand down the line.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
 

Date created : 2017-06-10

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