Abril 24, 2018

Unseeded Jelena Ostapenko crowned champion

19 Junio 2017, 05:06 | Gerardo Tarin

She is the first unseeded woman in 34 years to reach the final at Roland Garros and the first Latvian to ever reach a Grand Slam final. The 20-year-old is the youngest French Open victor since Iva Majoli in 1997 and the first player to win a debut tour-level title at a Slam since Gustavo Kuerten in Paris that same year. "I'm really happy. I have no words, it was my dream", Ostapenko said.

Ostapenko denied Halep not only a first Slam title but also the world No. 1 ranking.

Contesting only her eighth major, Ostapenko clubbed 54 winners to Halep's eight, while committing 54 unforced errors to the Romanian's 10.

"I'd like to say congratulations to Simona, you had a great week, you played great, I hope you have many more finals and you will win it", said Ostapenko, who was a first-round loser at the tournament in 2016.

The last player to win their debut title at Roland-Garros was Gustavo Kuerten on June 8, 1997...

Maiden grand slam finals are meant to be suffocating experiences but Jelena Ostapenko laid waste to that theory as she blasted a barrage of winners past Simona Halep to win the French Open in audacious fashion on Saturday.

Halep seemingly regained control, breaking in the final set to earn a 3-1 lead, only to lose serve in the next game after missing on three chances for a 4-0 lead.

"I'm just going to try to work hard but I think if I have a really good day and I'm hitting really well, I think anything is possible", said the world No. 12.

The crowd on a sun-soaked Philippe Chatrier Court were now vocal in their support of the Riga-born right-hander, who missed the first of two break points while tied at 3-3 but got a slice of luck with a shot that bounced over off the net cord. Halep serving to stay in the championship looked nervous and the Latvian needed no extra motivation to finish it off with a backhand victor on Halep's serve, her 299 overall in the tournament.

JELENA JAKOVLEVA, Ostapenko's mother, recalling her daughter's self-fulfilling prophecy, made 10 years ago. "I go to a club and dance with the teacher there, he's a professional dancer".

But Halep admitted: "I felt sick in the stomach about playing in this final so maybe I wasn't ready to win it". Even in moments when she appeared dead to rights, like after the first set, she kept plugging along, eating back into the lead Halep built.

"I didn't really understand how to play on grass and I was like, "How can people play on grass?" 'I think so, because I always had the possibility I could hit the ball really hard. She was playing in her second major final after being the runner-up to Maria Sharapova at Roland Garros in 2014.

Rather than being fazed, Ostapenko was enjoying being front and centre at one of the biggest tournaments in tennis. I think I have the game. "It's just the way I play".

"This one hurts a lot maybe because I am more - I realize more what is happening".

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

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